Northern Palm Beach County celebrates annual boat parade

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Sherry Buck

South Fla. residents gathered, at a safe social distance, for the 26th annual Palm Beach Holiday Boat Parade and 20th annual Toy Drive benefiting Toys for Tots and Little Smiles on a crisp, Dec. 5 evening.

Local boat owners adorned their boats with colorful lights, holiday decorations and festive banners for the parade that started at the North Palm Beach Gardens Country Club and ended at the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. Some boats even showcased fireworks and holiday music.

“I would say that the parade was very energetic. There was music playing on various boats, and there were fireworks going off every so often,” Kiera Parker, a Jupiter High sophomore, said.

The boat with the best decorations received a $10,000 cash prize. Other decorated boats also received lesser prizes. 

“I was thinking during the boat ride, ‘We spent so much time on this. I hope we win’,” Parker said.

The parade, hosted each year by the Marine Industry Association of Palm Beach County, attracted hundreds of spectators and dozens of boaters, all of whom were encouraged to donate toys to children in need.

“The parade was super fun. It felt really Christmas-y, and I loved the Christmas music they played. We went to the parade because it’s a fun event that we can be on the water and hang out with our friends,” Sherry Buck, a Jupiter High parent who attended the parade, said.

This year, because of COVID-19, the parade was streamed live on the WPBF-Channel 25 and Facebook, in addition to the WPBF app and website. 

“It is a unique holiday tradition that northern Palm Beach County enjoys each year and thankfully is not cancelled due to Covid,” Holly Weiss, a Jupiter High parent who attended the parade, said.