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Holiday Boat-A-Long: Annual celebration at Four Freedoms on Saturday

By Staff | Dec 14, 2017

Boats adorned with holiday lights and festive decorations will take to the water on Saturday as Cape Coral marks the season with its annual celebration.

Hosted by the city, the Holiday Boat-A-Long will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. at Four Freedoms Park. It will feature live entertainment, a visit from Santa and the boat parade, as well as a Movie in the Park.

“This has been a long-standing tradition in our community – 41 years,” Todd King, special events coordinator for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said. “We want to continue that amazing holiday spirit.”

The celebration will kick off at 4 p.m., with local community performances. The Robin Dawn Academy of Performing Arts, The Calendar Girls, Ovation Singers and a ballroom dancing group take the stage.

At approximately 6 p.m., attendees can expect a visit from St. Nick himself.

“It is the most important thing at the event, where children of all ages can share their last-minute holiday wishes with Santa,” he said.

Families are welcome to take pictures with Santa.

“The elves will be joining Santa,” King said.

Children will have a chance to work on crafts inside of the holiday tent.

“They can even script a letter for Santa to take back to the North Pole,” he said.

At approximately 7 or 7:35 p.m., the decorated boats will begin the parade within the Bimini Basin, before heading out along the route. Every year, 100-plus vessels take part in the annual tradition.

“We’re anticipating a record number of boats,” King said.

“The weather’s shaping up to be amazing,” he added.

King explained that some of the boats register for the event, while some just show up. Boat owners interested in joining the parade can still contact Sea Tow, which coordinates it, at 239-945-4820.

In addition, Sea Tow will have a trailer at the event to collect donations for Toys for Tots.

After the parade, the city will host the movie, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” with Jim Carrey.

“It instantly became one of the Christmas classics,” he said.

“We just think families will really enjoy that movie,” King added.

Attendees are welcome and encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to sit on.

“We’ll have bleacher seating, but that’s pretty limited,” he said.

Both food and drink vendors will be on site.

An estimated 5,000 people attend the event each year.

“We recommend people come early,” King said.

Free parking with shuttles will be available in the field lot at the corner of Southeast Eighth Court and Southeast 47th Terrace. Paid parking will be available in the lots to the west of Four Freedoms Park.

The community is encouraged to come out.

“I think most folks in the holiday time are looking for something to kick start that holiday spirit, and this seems to provide that consistently year in and year out,” he said.

For more information, visit capeparks.com or the Facebook event page “Holiday Boat-A-Long.”

Four Freedoms Park is at 4818 Tarpon Court.