“Float Your Boat and Let Your Lights Shine !”
Historic Downtown Swansboro’s annual Christmas Flotilla will take place along the waterfront on Nov. 23, the day after Thanksgiving, a full week before other area flotillas. The glimmering boats will begin to make their way from the Emerald Isle bridge at 5:30pm towards the Swansboro Waterfront for arrival of 6pm.
Boats of all styles and sizes are invited to decorate with lights and compete for first, second and third prize in two size categories.
Cash prizes of ($100, $75, and $50 for first, second and third places in both size categories) give incentive to create memorable entries, but newcomers are just as likely to win as old-timers.
There is no charge to participate, but a registration form must be completed. The form is available at www.swansborofestivals.com, and area locations.
After registration entrants are asked to attend the Captain’s Breakfast at the Swansboro Town Hall Annex at 9 a.m. where the Coast Guard will attend to discuss logistics and answer questions. Decisions about weather (cancelation or postponement to Saturday) will be announced at that breakfast.
The flotilla starts at 5:30 p.m. at the Emerald Isle Bridge and is led by the Coast Guard and Tim Simpson of TowBoat US, making it easy to navigate at night for new entries or folks not comfortable with nighttime navigation.
Awards will be presented over breakfast on Sunday, Nov. 25 at 9 a.m. at the Icehouse Waterfront Restaurant in downtown Swansboro.
Darryl Marsh, in his seventh year of participation, is assisting the Swansboro Festival Committee to encourage other new boaters to this year’s event.
Marsh himself has turned preparing for the flotilla into its own tradition. “We all get together at my house and decorate the boat after Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, go to the captain’s meeting Friday morning, then decorate all day Friday,” Marsh quoted at last years event. “The kids get involved with painting, hanging lights, and decorating trees while the adults work on logistics, mounting items, and running power cords.” “You simply follow the boat in front of you,” says Marsh.
Bring up the rear of the flotilla is “The Man Himself ….. SANTA !!! “ He too enjoys the parade of boats showing off their creative lights of décor as he makes is arrival to the mainland to greet all the boys and girls that are awaiting him at the new Swansboro Pavilion on the corner of Front St. and Church St.
The Swansboro Christmas Flotilla is a free event. Other activities will be along Front St. as well as warm hot chocolate and cider to put you in the Holiday Spirit as you shop for Christmas presents in the downtown merchant stores or enjoy an evening meal in the delicious Swansboro Restaurants.
For additional information. Call (910) 326-7370. or visit www.swansborofestivals.com
Rain date will be Saturday Nov. 24