36th Annual Parade of Lights

By Joanne A Calitri   |   December 20, 2022
1st Place Human Power: Uhane Outrigger Canoe Club

On Sunday, December 11, the 36th Annual Parade of Lights Boat Show was held at Stearns Wharf and seen along the city beachfront from West to East beaches. The parade was founded by Captain Don Hedden, a former president of the Stearns Wharf Business Association, in 1985 and has since become a holiday favorite. 

The theme for this year’s event was Deck the Hulls! There are 1st and 2nd place winners in each boat category, complete with gifts and cash prizes. Boat parade participants enter for free under one of five categories: human-powered, power, sail, commercial fishing, or commercial other. 

The Human-Powered category competition was held during daylight at 3:30 pm (for the safety of the boaters.) At 5 pm, the formal events started with a tree lighting ceremony, and holiday tunes sung by the Dos Pueblos Jazz Choir on Stearns Wharf next to the Sea Center. Around 6 pm, approximately two dozen decorated and lighted boats with their cheery crews were led by the Coast Guard down East Beach to circle back to the wharf’s east side for viewing by boat parade judges that were seated upstairs at Conway Winery Tasting Room patio. And of course there were photo-ops by your Our Town reporter Joanne A Calitri with Christopher Bell, City of SB Waterfront Department Administrative Analyst and Public Information Officer. The Master of Ceremonies was Captain David Bacon with his wife, Cathy, who announced each boat’s name and number over speakers, so all watching the show in the wharf could hear. Boats are judged on a scale of 1 to 5 for use of lights, interpretation of the parade theme, and overall impression. Scores are tabulated by Bell immediately after the parade so awards can be given at the after party by SB Sailing Center owner Skip Abed. This year, the after party was graciously hosted by Amy Rose, co-owner of the Anchor Rose restaurant, above the Maritime Museum. After the last boat went by, Bell gave the signal for the annual fireworks show to commence over Leadbetter Beach, a five-minute show that concluded the holiday event. 

The Boat Parade of Lights Winners are: 

Grand Prize Best Overall: Spencer MacRae, Kelpie

Commercial Fishing Boat 1st Place: Bernard Friedman, Perseverance

Commercial Other 1st Place: Spencer MacRae, Kelpie

Power Boat 1st Place: William Hahn, That’s A Wrap

Sail Boat 1st Place: Patrick Mullen, Sirocco

Human Power 1st Place: Millie Brother and Cherie Mignone, Uhane Outrigger Canoe Club

Bell and Abed shared, “The Parade of Lights is one of those quintessential Santa Barbara events that brings the community together to celebrate the best aspects of the holiday season – friends, family, and fun! The Waterfront Department would like to acknowledge all the boaters who took time during the past few days of rain to get their boats ready for the parade, and to thank all the volunteers and businesses that donated their time and money to make this event really special. We wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!”

This year’s event was sponsored by: the 2022 Parade of Lights Committee, the City of Santa Barbara Waterfront Department, Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants Association, Stearns Wharf Business Association, and the Santa Barbara Yacht Club.  

411: santabarbaraca.gov/things-do/waterfront


You might also be interested in...