Web Extra: Lights on the Water
By Haley Dawson
Nothing awakens the Christmas spirit better than a brisk winter walk through a lighted wonderland. Candy canes are a must, and if you plan ahead, a thermos of hot chocolate with melting marshmallows creates the perfect accompaniment to such an excursion.
As a child, I spent many December evenings with my family exploring the numerous lighted displays around my hometown of Houston. Years later, I now find myself a resident on Austin’s famous 37th street, known for years as the unofficial “Christmas Lights Street,” and it has been a delight to watch the groups of sightseers stroll down the block, stopping to admire each home’s dedication to the holiday cheer.
My family also frequents the South Texas coast during the winter months, and it has recently come to my attention that folks down there present an interesting twist on holiday cheer: lighted boat parades. I have yet to witness one such event, but I can only imagine the spectacle they produce. I’ve made a vow to visit at least one this December, and I encourage anyone itching to get in the holiday spirit to do the same. Listed below are some of the best parades the coast has to offer.
Corpus Christi: Harbor Lights Festival
December 4. Corpus Christi Marina.
Festivities take place throughout the day with a number of vendors and holiday activities. The official ceremony begins at 6 with the lighting of a giant Christmas tree followed by a lighted boat parade. Visit www.harborlightsfestival.org, or call 361/633-7293.
Port Aransas: Carolers Afloat/Boat Lighting Parade
December 4, Roberts Point Park.
Sing Christmas carols aboard vessels as they cruise the city harbor in a lighted boat parade. Begins at dusk. Visit www.portaransas.org, or call 800/452-6278.
December 4, Little Bay.
Gather on either Broadway or Fulton Beach Road to watch as lighted boats cross the bay and participate in a contest sponsored by the Rockport Yacht Club. Boats are judged in several classes from sailboats and powerboats to commercial vessels. Visit www.rockport-fulton.org, or call 361/463-9641
December 4, Port Isabel/ South Padre Island.
For the 24th year, boats are judged at the White Sands Resort in Port Isabel and then travel through the Intracoastal Waterway to Louie’s Backyard on the Bay in South Padre Island for viewing and awards. The parade can be viewed anywhere along the waterway. Visit www.portisabel.org, or call 956/943-2262.
December 11, Kemah Boardwalk.
Lighted powerboats and sailboats cross the Clear Lake channel from the South Shore Harbor Marina and the Nassau Bay Lagoon to Galveston Bay. This year marks the 49th annual parade. Visit www.kemahboardwalk.com, or call 281/334-9880.
From the June 2012 issue.