Lit Up: The Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade


Being from the Northeast, I grew up well accustomed to long, cold winters.  I lived for pond hockey.  I thought it was normal for my toes to freeze every time I skied.  I prayed for blizzards in April, hoping to build one final igloo before the emergence of spring.

Today, I’m what New Englanders would call “soft”.  It’s been five years since I left Massachusetts for Northern California and I can’t say I have had any regrets.  Life in the Bay Area is too good.  It never gets too hot & humid in the summer, there are activities aplenty and more importantly, the temperatures never (ever) drop below freezing for a significant amount of time.  In fact, I’ve seen it “snow” here at sea level just once.  A brief flurry attempted to blanket Market Street with an elegant carpet of white, yet the bricks and asphalt would not comply.

One of the main reasons for my pilgrimage to the west coast was to find a place where ocean activities are a year round staple.  While San Francisco is a far cry from San Diego, you can surf through the winter without any real worry of extremities falling off, motoring to ice-free marina front bars is no problem, and the occasional beach day does indeed pop up in January.

One oceanic event I particularly look forward to each winter is the Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade—a main attraction during the annual Winter Fest in Sausalito. Combining gaudy Chevy Chase inspired Christmas lights , carols blaring over outdated yacht loudspeakers, and a dedicated city-front firework display, this event is the perfect union of holiday and oceanic festivity.

This Saturday, December 8th marks the 25th Anniversary of the event.  From the deck of my friend Matt’s fine sailboat, Cavallo, I plan on taking in the splendor of the celebration and downing my fair share of egg-nog.  It’s sure to be a fun one in this not-so-wintery wonderland.

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