Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tis The Season, For A Parade

There is never a shortage of entertainment options in the Holy City, and that is never any more evident than at Christmas. One of the best web sites that I have found dedicated to information about spending the holidays in Charleston, South Carolina is Christmas in Charleston. This site is a resource not only for the tourist planning a holiday visit to the city, but also a great place for Charlestonians looking for a complete listing of holiday events. Of course the beaches, the harbor, rivers and creeks provide tons of action especially during warmer months, but last weekend the Charleston Waterfront was the place to be for Christmas related activities as well.

Charleston Boat Parade 2011, YouTube ceciljohn09

Everybody loves a parade, especially at Christmas. That ages old axiom certainly applies to this guy, in fact, I am a sucker for a great holiday parade. I don't have a formal bucket list, which is hard to believe since I am a bonafide list-making machine, but if I did have one then a trip to NYC for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade would be near the top of the list, right alongside being a recreational boat owner. I guess it is somewhat appropriate that these two items are side-by-side on my list, that way when my sons are finished with college and are securely employed they can provide both for dear old Dad.

Speaking of boats and Christmas parades, the Annual Charleston Christmas Parade of Boats featured above in the video has been an elusive holiday happening for us since our first Christmas in The Land of Palm Trees
back in 2007. It seems as if each year we have managed to miss the spectacle, but I am happy to report that the streak has ended this year. Last weekend featured near perfect weather here in the Lowcountry and the opportunity to head downtown Saturday evening to the waterfront to take in our first ever Parade of Boats. Even though the Saturday afternoon temps were in the 70's as the sun set the thermometer took a plunge into the low 50's prompting my wife to pose the familiar question, "how could someplace with all of this sand and palm trees seem so cold?" In reality, it wasn't that cold but from our vantage point perched on a seawall beside the Charleston Harbor, near the pineapple fountain at Waterfront Park in Charleston the constant stiff wind off of the Atlantic provided the chill in the air that made this Christmas parade seem like a Christmas parade. Thanks to the hot coffee and cocoa we were warmed a bit, but gloves and a cap would have been appreciated.

Due to variables such as wind, tide and waves a parade of boats tends to operate on a much less predictable timetable than your average parade on land, so we probably spent a little more time harborside waiting in the wind than we needed to, although had we arrived any later then we would not have had a prime spot on the seawall to view the lightshow as it sailed past. There were thousands of spectators gathered along the waterfront from Mount Pleasant to the Battery and the parade and it's colorful boats of all sizes delivered as expected. I must admit however that from the sounds of music blaring from the boats and the scenes of boat passengers dancing on deck under the stars this is one parade where the parade participants definitely have more fun than those gathered to watch. Maybe one of these years I will be fortunate enough to experience the Annual Christmas Parade of Boats from the water as opposed to beside the water.


  1. There is a parade of boats, or there was, on the Tailrace Canal. I was on one of those boats lit with colored lights one year. It was cold. We stayed inside. There were no drinks with little umbrellas. I think I prefer watching to participating. A toddy or two might have improved the situation.
    I preferred the perch of the 9th story pharmacy on Rutledge Ave watching in comfort away from weather and traffic, but, alas, those days are gone.

  2. When we are all old and gray and we have our'll have first dibs on deck chairs :)


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