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Sparkle in the Harbor

Lighted Boat parade returns December 11 By Jillian Chandler | Photo By Thomas Miller

Sponsored by the Gig Harbor Yacht Club, the annual Lighted Boat Parade will brighten up the harbor on Saturday, December 11. A tradition that has been in existence for as long as current members remember—but certainly since the 1960s—the parade shines a light along the harbor to the enjoyment of both those participating and those on shore.

“It was started simply to put on a show during the dark nights of December and brighten up the holiday season,” shares John Sasser, committee chair for the Gig Harbor Lighted Boat Parade. “At first it was just Gig Harbor Yacht Club boats, but then others asked to join and they were welcomed.”

The parade begins at 5pm, as a long line of brightly decorated boats—including fishing vessels, pleasure boats and kayaks—parade around Gig Harbor, with the route starting in front of Arabella’s Landing, led by the Gig Harbor Police boat. “We proceed toward the harbor mouth but turn before we get there and go all the way down the north side of the harbor, turning again more or less in front of Anthony’s Restaurant, and coming back along the south shore to our starting point—and then we do a second lap,” shares John. The boats can be viewed from all points along the shore.

Last year’s event drew a record 52 participating boats. “Most years we've had 25 to 35 boats, but last year, in the height of the pandemic, I think a lot of people were eager to get outside and enjoy some safe entertainment. We had over 50 boats in the parade, and they put on an amazing show,” smiles John. “I think that might stand as a record for a while.”

All area boaters are very welcome to sail in the parade if they have a well-lighted boat and a sense of adventure, whether or not they are members of the Gig Harbor Yacht Club. Skippers can sign up to receive details and more information by sending their name, boat name and length, email address and home port or club to ghyclightedparade@gmail.com. There is no fee and no commitment. “Just come, join the parade and have fun,” encourages John.


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