A floating mariachi party and a pole dancer make it “An Animated Holiday” out on the water

Excited crowds packed the shoreline at Burton Chace Park and just about anywhere with a clear view of the marina’s main channel on Saturday to watch the 54th annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, a festival of lights powered by more than 60 vessels decked with holiday cheer.

The parade’s “An Animated Holiday” theme brought out a dancing marionette Santa in a mainsail, “Despicable Me” minions galore, and even a cameo by Princess Elsa of “Frozen.”

But the 55-foot powerboat “Blue Chips” brought to life the night’s biggest surprise: a high-heeled “North Pole” pole dancer twirling above the bow.

“Turn around kids!” exclaimed one of the parade announcers at Burton Chace.

Photos by Ted Soqui (tedsoquiphoto.com)


1. Olympic gold medalist and collegiate champion water polo player KK Clark, the parade’s grand marshal, waves to an adoring crowd at Burton Chace Park.

2. The Women’s Sailing Association of Santa Monica Bay (foreground) sets the pace for holiday cheer.

3. Peter Ellis and Colin Kastner’s mariachi party onboard the “Ellis Island II” dazzled crowds and judges alike, winning them the parade’s Best Overall Entry award.

4. A Christmas teddy bear gets a hug from a crustacean friend behind Killer Shrimp owner Kevin Michaels’ “Clueless,” the parade’s Best Powerboat winner.

5. It wasn’t Santa but a feisty pole-dancing elf that stole the show on Gisele Ozeri and Craig Melone’s 55-foot power boat Blue Chips.