Friday, November 16 , 2018, 2:33 pm | Fair 69º


Captain’s Log: Santa Barbara ‘s Parade of Lights Is Always a Boatload of Fun

Get outdoors and do something fun! A perfect opportunity is coming right up — Santa Barbara’s 29th annual Parade of Lights.

It happens at the harbor and on Stearns Wharf this Sunday, Dec. 14, and it is a boatload of fun. This year’s theme is “Gone Fishin’ for the Holidays.”

Activities begin at 3 p.m. on the city pier in front of Brophy Bros. and The Chandlery. That is up at the end of the harbor where the big buildings are, including the Maritime Museum, which is worth coming early to spend some time exploring.

A Santa’s Village will be set up, complete with lots of snow brought in to make it fun. There are usually some elves there to greet kids and help them to meet Santa. Lots of families bring their kids to enjoy the all-about-the-kids Santa’s Village arrangement. Truth is, we are all kids when it comes to stuff like this, so c’mon ahead, no matter how many decades you’ve been a kid.

At 5:30 p.m., the boat parade begins as happily-lit boats maneuver to show off their bright, cheerful artwork. The boats make their way out of the harbor, turn right and give people on the breakwater a good show, make a turn in front of the Yacht Club, head eastward past the tip of Stearns Wharf and down along East Beach, in toward the show and back to the east side of Stearns Wharf, where they make a close-haul pass for judging before heading back into the harbor. That makes the wharf a fabulous place to view the decorative boats and enjoy the shops and sights.

After the boat parade, the festivities will end with a five- to seven-minute fireworks display at approximately 7 p.m. After that, the waterfront and nearby restaurants will be at the ready to feed hungry tummies.

As for me, mine may not be too hungry because I always enjoy a bag of goodies from the candy shop on the wharf. That fine business establishment, along with a long list of businesses and associations, work very hard and invest a lot of themselves to make this is a much-appreciated and well-attended community event.

You are invited and encouraged to come have fun!

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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