A Perfect Night for a Parade

The Unforgetable sailboat, owned by guest Nick Litras, won first place honors for decorations that featured candy canes bordering the deck and a mast high Christmas tree that blinked on and off. 

On Saturday, December 10, the Boca Ciega Yacht Club, 4600 Tifton Drive S., Gulfport, sponsored their 31st annual Gulfport Lighted Boat Parade with 16 boats participating, said Barb Meyer, one of four co-chairs for the event. Other co-chairs were Jimmy Meyer, Jen Rogers and Don Rogers. Beginning at 6 p.m., boats followed a parade route that included Gulfport’s Municipal Marina, Williams Pier, and the canals of Town Shores Condominiums, Pasadena Yacht Club Estates and Pasadena Golf Club Estates in addition to the Isla Del Sol Yacht and Country Club across the bay. The entry fee for each boat was two or more unwrapped children’s presents or a check made out to Operation Santa, Gulfport’s annual toy drive. Registration was open to club members and guest boaters from the community using sail or powered vessels.

The MeeShee sailboat owned by club member Lee Neil, the commodore elect for 2017, was a crowd favorite at a Town Shores party for its sound system and Florida-themed Christmas decorations featuring two palm trees, two alligators, a beach umbrella and one pink flamingo atop a sandy beach that extended from bow to stern.

“Even though it was a smaller parade than what we’re used to,” said Barb Meyer, “the decorations were so creative and outstanding that it made it much more special and memorable for me. I was really impressed with the creative talents of our guests.”

Gulfport Police Sgt. Rob Burkhart was the parade leader in the city’s police power boat assisted by Vice Mayor Michael Fridovich.

“We were thrilled with the weather,” said Barb Meyer. “We were concerned about the possibility of 18-knot winds from the northeast and that did not happen. It was a perfect night for the parade.”

A potluck dinner party at the club followed the parade where attendees sang the “Twelve Days of Christmas” with custom lyrics rewritten annually for each table by club member Guy O’Connor. The lyrics are “very amusing and a lot of fun,” said Barb Meyer. Part of the entertainment included the 2016 Commodore, Richard “Captain Sandbar” Walters, dressing as Santa, which he does each year.

The Santy Clause sailboat, owned by club members and parade co-chairs Don and Jen Rogers, was decorated with a waving Santa who was halfway down a fireplace chimney located next to the mast. 

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