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.
“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.