By Joe Piasecki
Saturday was a beautiful night to be out on the water, and the 51st annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade did not disappoint.
The Marina was alive with celebration throughout the roughly two-hour procession, with crowds packing the shoreline and revelers continuing the party out on the docks or in the comfort of yacht clubs.
The evening began with grand marshals Jeanie Buss and Phil Jackson boarding the Pastabilities from a dock outside the Del Rey Yacht Club, a parade sponsor.
Buss, president of the Los Angeles Lakers, and Jackson, the legendary former Lakers coach, are engaged to be married and residents of Playa del Rey.
“This is a great way to get into the spirit of the holiday,” Buss said. “We always watch the parade from where we are. This is our community, this is our neighborhood, and so it’s really a nice thing to be part of it on this level.”
“My fiancée wrangled me into doing this,” Jackson joked, “but I’m excited now that I’m here.”
In all, 42 boats officially entered the parade, but several more could be seen joining the festivities on the water.
Taking home honors for the best overall entry was Bruce Taguchi’s boat Weekend Hooker, decked out with blue LED lights, dangling oversized Christmas ornaments and a cast of brightly lit holiday characters.
The Giniana Joy, an entry by the Marina Venice Yacht Club, took top honors in the sail category with an adventurous take on the theme “Holiday Magic” — an epic battle between a fire-breathing dragon and an army of lighted toy soldiers, with Santa and reindeer flying air support in his sleigh.
Reigning in the power boat category was Clueless, a crowd favorite helmed by Kevin Michaels of the Marina del Rey restaurant Killer Shrimp. Michaels proved that sometimes creativity is closer at hand than we think by affixing a massive inflatable shrimp to the front of his craft, which was also adorned with countless LED holiday lights and even a Christmas tree.
You have to see the colors on the water to really appreciate it,” parade President Cindy Williams said of the annual event. “It’s really very pretty — our Rose Parade on the water.”