By Janee Law
The Huntington Lighthouse Boat Parade, a maritime visual extravaganza, is back this holiday season.
Community members will have the chance to feast their eyes on boats and houses decked out in festive, bright holiday decorations.
Pam Setchell, president of the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society, which hosts the Huntington Harbor Parade of Lights, said it was canceled last year due to the lighthouse’s ongoing restoration project.
“Everybody was so upset,” Setchell said. “It’s a lot of fun for people to be able to come down to the harbor and watch this big festival of boats lit up, and we’re excited to bring that spirit back.”
This will be the sixth year the fundraiser event will take place, drawing landlubbers to the shores of Huntington Harbor.
“It’s a give back from the lighthouse to the people, and fortunately there are very kind and generous sponsors that defray the cost to put it together,” Setchell said.
Boats and houses or businesses along the harbor pay a $50 registration fee, which goes to the preservation society. Each participating boater decorates their vessel for the opportunity to win prizes in 10 categories, including best in show, best sailboat, most creative, and fleets’ favorite.
Nearby residents and businesses also decorate to compete for new landlubber prize categories.
It’s unclear how many boats or houses will be participating this year, Setchell said, but there are typically 30 boats and six houses and businesses around the harbor that participate.
This year’s parade kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24 in Huntington Harbor. The starting line and the cannon is fired from the Harbor Boating Club as boats will cruise the harbor and finish in front of the Huntington Yacht Club.
Judges will post up in various spots around the harbor to cast their vote for the winners.
Setchell said this year's goal is to get as many participants as possible in order to promote the waterfront.
“It’s important that we celebrate the waterfront here,” she said. “We work very hard to preserve it, grow it and create a very positive spirit around it because we’re very lucky to live here.”
For more information, visit Huntingtonboatparade.com.