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Local News

Boats Illuminate the Night with Parade of Lights along Santa Barbara Waterfront

Procession of vessels takes a tour of the harbor before capping off the night with a fireworks show

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

Thousands of spectators packed Santa Barbara’s waterfront Sunday night to watch dozens of boats and watercraft sail by, all of them decked out with holiday adornment as part of the annual Parade of Lights.

The festive event has been taking place for the past 29 years. On Sunday, many braved the chilly air to enjoy the procession of vessels, first off Leadbetter Beach, then to East Beach, around Stearns Wharf and finally ending in the Santa Barbara Harbor, where the boats and their crews were greeted by cheers from those on the docks.

Earlier in the evening, an orange winter sunset illuminated the boats as they waited in a queue in the waters near the Santa Barbara Yacht Club, where many spectators sat in the sand and on the breakwater walkway to watch before the procession began.

A fireworks show launched from West Beach also lit up the night as the boats made their way back into the harbor just after the parade ended.

About two dozens boats participated this year’s parade — the theme of which was “Gone Fishin’ for the Holidays” — and winning boats were given gifts and cash prizes in an awards ceremony at the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

Many of the boats were decked out with the theme, and several featured live bands aboard, serenading as they passed by the crowds.

Bernard Friedman of Santa Barbara Mariculture and his crew aboard the Perseverance earned the night’s grand prize as well as first place in the commercial division.

Prior to the parade, a Santa’s Village had been set up on the city pier in the harbor, and children were given goody bags and were able to take pictures with Santa.

Sunday’s event was sponsored by the 2014 Parade of Lights Committee, the Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, the Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association, the Stearns Wharf Business Association and the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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