This doesn’t sound that funny unless you know that I live a good eight miles inland and the only water is in the gutter from the guy up the street washing his car. Still, we’re fairly close to the ocean and to some inland lakes and rivers, so people have boats – and they have a boat parade, with big pickup trucks and powerboats on trailers.
I’ve asked a few neighbors who’ve lived here a while, and here’s how it started. Five or six years ago, a couple of guys were sitting in the driveway at one of their houses, finishing off a case of beer, and one of them said “We oughtta have a boat parade. I gotta boat.” Then they piled into his fishing boat, and got a third buddy to drive the truck pulling them around the neighborhood while they hung on and yelled “Merry Christmas” and drank beer.
The following year, it was two or three boats. Then it was six boats, and they added lights and generators and PA systems and nobody was drunk because they planned for a week to get the lights just right. It’s the holiday season EXACTLY the way Tim the Tool Man would have done it.
Anyway, it keeps on growing. We have an odd little pocket of residential streets, on the edge of town, and none of them are through streets – you only get off the freeway here if you live here. No stores, or shortcuts to other freeways, or anything like that. Just a bunch of houses. So there aren’t any permits or official driving plans.
If you want to enter, you show up at the grammar school with your truck and your trailer and your boat and your passengers and your lights. First guy to arrive gets to lead. Some people have big boats that carry 20 people, and they throw candy and yell and wave. Some are more modest – like the El Camino this year, pulling a JetSki and a guy in a Santa suit.
I think we had 42 boats this year. There was also a marching band, and collections for Toys for Tots. It was a pretty big deal. The dog went with us to watch, so I lost count; he couldn’t decide whether it was fantastic or horrifying or just a big twinkly monster to bark at. He spent most of his time hiding behind my legs and poking his head out to bark.
I know these pictures are hard to make out, but it’s kind of rough to photograph a moving boat covered in Christmas lights with a canine assistant. You’ll have to just trust me, it’s a boat parade.
I hope your holidays have been just as entertaining so far!