What is the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade?
The boat parade is an indispensable community tradition. Individual boaters and local organizations put loads of creativity and energy into turning their watercrafts into floating holiday spectacles. Some of the more sophisticated entries feature computer-animated LED light displays. Some of the more raucous entries even have singing and dancing crews.
How did this tradition begin?
On a sunny December weekend in 1962, years before L.A. County’s formal dedication of the marina, a small group of pioneering boaters thought it would be fun to decorate their vessels with Christmas lights and parade around the newly dredged main channel of the not-quite-finished harbor. Community volunteers have kept it going ever sense.
When is this year’s parade?
The parade runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, but you’ll want to catch the 5:55 p.m. fireworks display over the marina’s main channel.
How many boats participate?
Nobody knows for sure until show time, but recent parades have featured 60 or more.
Where are some good places to watch?
Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way) is where the announcers set up — their humor and energy only adds to the fun. Fisherman’s Village is always a hotspot, too, and locals like to hang out on the jetty alongside Ballona Creek. But anywhere with a clear view of the main channel should be fine.
How much does it cost?
Watching the boat parade is free and open to locals, tourists and landlubbers alike.
What about parking?
Parking is available for $8 to $10 in several county-operated lots and $15 at Fisherman’s Village, but spaces fill up long before the parade starts. Consider public transportation or a rideshare service.
How do I enter my boat?
You can do that online now. For parade rules and entry information, visit mdrboatparade.org.
What’s to do before the parade?
Snow Wonder brings 70 tons of real snow and family-friendly activities to Burton Chace Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., followed by Marina Lights (see page 22).
How do I catch a free electric shuttle ride?
Demand will be extremely high, so text (323) 435-5000 at least 15 minutes ahead of time or hop on The Circuit (formerly The Free Ride) at The Ritz-Carlton, Marina del Rey; Marina del Rey Marriott; Hilton Garden Inn Los Angeles, Marina del Rey; Cafe del Rey; Whiskey Red’s; Fisherman’s Village; Waterside at Marina del Rey; or Washington Square/ Venice Pier.
Where’s the after party?
Lots of people party on boats or at yacht clubs before, during and after the parade. If you’re dining out, make reservations ASAP.
A Parade for Kids & Kids at Heart
How quickly a year goes by! It’s time once again for the Westside’s biggest on-the-water party, the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade.
Saturday’s 57th annual festival of nautical lights, animation and song begins with fireworks over the harbor at 5:55 p.m. sharp, as is tradition.
Breaking with tradition, this year’s theme “Kids Make Holidays Bright” will be one to remember for our most distinctive grand marshal(s) yet: This year’s volunteer parade committee is honored to welcome children to headline the festivities.
This year we are also excited to have many returning entries, as well as some promising first-time entries whose participation helps keep the parade thriving as we enter a brand-new decade of fond memories and good times. Good luck to all the entries!
I would like to thank the following key individuals who give so many hours of their time to bring this event together: Louis Scaduto, chairman of the board; Lowell Safier, vice president; Phil Seelig, secretary; Christine Rohde, treasurer; Cindy Williams, past president. Also, of course, our board of directors: Diane Barretti, Harvey Ross, Jerry Magnussen, David Ross, and prize coordinator Melanie Williams. To our volunteers, I thank you all for your devotion and hard work to make sure the community enjoys a spectacular parade.
Special thanks goes out to this year’s judges and to Lisa Osborne and Mickey Laszlo, our beloved parade announcers who will be returning this year to Burton Chace Park.
Most Importantly, let’s all say a big “thank you” to the boaters. Without you there would be no parade to light up the night.
To all the kids and kids at heart heading to this year’s parade, I wish all of you a very happy holiday and all the best in the new year.
President, Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade