On Saturday, Dec. 11, Captiva will host its first annual Light the Way boat parade as part of the month-long festival of events, activities, programs and more, all encompassed within the Captiva Holiday Village.
“We’ve got a pretty good committee of people that represent the boating community on Captiva that helped develop this boat parade,” said Brad Junghans, General Manager of Captiva Cruises. “It’s amazing how many people jumped on board and wanted to help, not only with the boat parade, but the whole Captiva Holiday Village.”
Junghans said that so far, 15 vessels are signed up for the parade, but there is space to accommodate at least 50 total boats in three categories: vessels 36 feet and over, vessels 35 feet and under and sailboats of any size.
To participate, the boat must be decorated with a minimum of 100 lights, “But we suggest much more than that,” Junghans said.
And to encourage that decorating spirit, Junghans said there are a lot of great prizes lined up for the boat parade winners.
“We have stays at South Seas Island Resort, ’Tween Waters Inn, Jensen’s Twin Palm Cottages & Marina and a $500 gift certificate to Offshore Sailing School. Kay Casperson also donated $140 gift certificates for the parade judges,” Junghans said.
The judges for the first annual Light the Way Boat Parade are cartoonist Doug MacGregor, Jennifer Stacy of WINK News and an active member of the military, brought to the panel through the Jensen brothers and Operation Open Arms.
The parade will begin at 6 p.m., and will be followed by a “Blues, Brews and Ribs Awards Party” at Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbecue, located in Chadwick’s Square at South Seas Island Resort, at 7 p.m.
But even if you don’t have a boat to decorate and enter into the parade, Junghans said there will be plenty of opportunities to participate in the parade atmosphere.
“The Green Flash will be hosting a big dock-side party, and there will be viewing opportunities at McCarthy’s Marina, Jensen’s Twin Palms Marina and ’Tween Waters Inn,” Junghans said. “Captiva Cruises will also have at least two boats in the parade, passengers can buy tickets and ride in the parade.”
Paul McCarthy, of McCarthy’s Marina and Captiva Cruises, said that the boat parade is a natural fit for the island, just as the Captiva Holiday Village seems to be.
“Of course, nothing happens by chance. It’s not just random — people have come together and they’re working really hard on all of these events. But it’s so well-organized and formatted and we’ve been all-inclusive, and it’s great that everyone is involved — the local institutions, non-profits, businesses, residents,” McCarthy said. “This is all happening because of a lot of hard work. I think it’s amazing that so many people have gotten excited about it and I think this really caught people’s imaginations, the spirit of the times, and it just felt right. The Holiday Village just struck a chord and people were in the mood to do some community celebration.”
The golf cart parade, which will be held from 3:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, Captiva Luminary Night, and the Skimboard Art Show, featuring 30 skimboards designed by talented artists and on display throughout the weekend of Dec. 10 - 12, are just two of the events coming up that McCarthy is particularly proud of.
“We had to articulate what Captiva is all about and all aspects of the Holiday Village are meant to be complementary — nature, the beach, music, art, culinary experiences, all those things that express Captiva,” McCarthy said. “And it all creates a level of excitement that fits what Captiva is all about.”
For more information about the boat parade or to reserve a seat on the boat parade cruise, call 472-5300.
And for more information about upcoming Captiva Holiday Village events and activities, go to www.CaptivaHolidayVillage.com
Fact BoxTo Go
First annual Light the Way boat parade
Saturday, Dec. 11
Parade begins at 6 p.m.
Dockside viewing at the Green Flash, McCarthy’s Marina, ’Tween Waters Inn and Jensen’s Marina
For parade cruise information
Captiva Cruises, 472-5200