A record number of 60 boats competed for prizes in ten categories at the 20th Anniversary Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on Saturday, December 7, 2019. Thousands of locals and visitors came out to experience one of the region’s most beloved holiday traditions at Alexandria’s historic waterfront. The mile-long parade was led by Alexandria’s fireboat Vigilant and Washington, D.C.’s fireboat John Glenn, and closed with Alexandria’s tall ship Providence.
Best of Alexandria Show was awarded to Anamchara and Captain Steve Preda who presented the theme “Peace” featuring a rotating lighted globe, glowing doves and a peace sign. Best Powerboat went to A Blast and Captain Steve Gwensberg for the theme “Carol of the Bells” featuring music, animated lights and a lively crew waving lighted sticks. Best Sailboat was awarded to Tuesday and Captain Joe Landa who presented the theme “Under the Sea” featuring delicate jellyfish, animated lights and crew dressed as sea creatures. Other notable entries include Best Theme winner Escape Plan and Captain Timothy Smith for “A World Series Christmas” featuring Washington Nationals flags, World Series trophy and baby shark costume; Thinking Outside the Christmas Box winner Letter of Marque and Captain Walter Weiss for the spectacular “Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights;” and Best Spirit of America winner Dark Star and Captain Doug Savage for “Go for the Moon: Merry Astronautical Christmas” featuring a live astronaut repelling down a rocket then greeting Santa at the bottom. Find a complete list of winners below.
- Best of Alexandria Show: “Peace,” Anamchara, Captain Steve Preda
- Best Powerboat: “Carol of the Bells,” A Blast, Captain Steve Gwensberg
- Best Sailboat: “Under the Sea,” Tuesday, Captain Joe Landa
- Thinking Outside the Christmas Box: “Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights,” Letter of Marque, Captain Walter Weiss
- Most Holiday Cheer: “Christmas on the Potomac,” Kairos, Captain Tipper Williams Bradford
- Best Theme: “A World Series Christmas,” Escape Plan, Captain Timothy Smith
- Best Spirit of America: “Go for the Moon: Merry Astronautical Christmas,” Dark Star, Captain Doug Savage
- Most Spirited Crew: “Disco Christmas,” Moondance, Captain David Huebner
- Hardiest Soul: “Santa Goes Fishin’ with Buddy the Elf,” Canoe See Me?, Captain Adam Cope
- Best Try: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” American Girl, Captain John Gaydos
A slideshow of the winners can be found on VisitAlexandriaVA.com/boatparade.
The parade’s dockside festivities included a pop-up beer garden from Alexandria’s award-winning Port City Brewing Company and holiday music and giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM. Hands-on activities from independently owned Alexandria businesses included a Letters to Santa postcard station from paper goods boutique Penny Post, holiday ornament craft from AR Workshop Alexandria and bookmark making with Old Town Books. Guests enjoyed polpette (Italian meatballs) from Pizzeria Paradiso and a hot chocolate bar from Dolci Gelati. On the Alexandria City Marina, Riverside Taco Company hosted a Parade Day Patio Party with hot cider and bottomless bites included in admission. At 3:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina to take photos with children and families at the annual Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday Festival.
The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is part of Alexandria’s biggest holiday weekend which also features events of the Campagna Center’s Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, and is part of a Potomac River holiday tradition with the District’s Holiday Boat Parade taking place the same evening at 7 p.m. at The Wharf in Washington, D.C.