PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Panama City will hold the Boat Parade of Lights for the first time since Hurricane Michael.
Destination Panama City is taking over the holiday event this year featuring dozens of decorated boats.
It’s returning on December 9th, the U.S. Coast Guard has just approved the route, and it’s the biggest one yet.
“Start on the water in front of the St. Andrew’s Bay yacht club, it will travel a westwardly path to the Panama City Marina, it’ll continue down West Beach Drive to St. Andrews Marina, it will then take the jog northwest over towards Papa Joe’s and No Name Lounge and it’ll ultimately end at the Hathaway Bridge,” Destination Panama City President Jennifer Vigil said.
24 boats have been entered, so far. They’ll deck out their vessels with Christmas decor, hoping the judges at the Panama City Marina will select them as the best. The winner will receive a cooler filled with a variety of items, worth about $1,000. With a fun event like this, everyone is a winner.
“The boats are absolutely beautiful and I have a signal cannon that I’ve been known to bring on the boat and sometimes I fire it off so I’m hoping I get a chance to do that,” Panama City Mayor Michael Rohan said.
Local businesses along the parade route are encouraging people to stop by to watch the parade.
“This is the ideal spot because we’re just above the Panama City Marina, they’ll be continuing on the west as it heads toward the Hathaway Bridge so they’ll have plenty of time to watch the parade go by from start to finish,” Hotel Indigo general manager Jean Capps said.
“We’re hoping they do bring chairs, make an afternoon, evening out of it, we do have Harrison’s open so if they want to come in for dessert, coffee, dinner, we’re welcoming,” Harrison’s Kitchen and Bar general manager Sally Olson said.
The Destination Panama City welcome center will also be a popular spot.
“It is more than just what’s in the water, Santa will be out there, we’ll have hot cocoa out there, we have some vendors lined up to come, it’s really going to be a really enjoyable evening for the family,” Vigil said,
You can register your boat until November 30th, the entry fee is $20. The parade begins at 5:30 on December 9th. Click here to register your boat.
Hotel Indigo officials said they still have rooms available if you’re interested in booking and Harrison’s does not accept reservations but encourages the community to stop by for a drink or bite to eat.