Ninety officially registered boats created a river of lights on the Intracoastal Waterway on December 3 for the 39th Annual Palm Coast Holiday Boat Parade. Presented by the Palm Coast Yacht Club, it is believed to be the largest community boat parade in the state of Florida.
Perhaps a million lights garlanded over boats of all sizes created shooting stars, swooping airplanes, giant Santas, soaring Christmas trees, Grinches, and even dinosaurs, turning the Intracoastal and other parts of the route into rivers of holiday cheer for thousands of spectators lining the parade route.
Boats from the Flagler County Sheriff’s office and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission served as official escorts, along with TowBoatUS. Grand Marshalls were Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly and Palm Coast Mayor David Alfin, back on his feet after a brief illness. For the fourth year the parade was broadcast live by Flagler Broadcasting on KOOL-FM, 100.9, with local celebrities Linda Cole and Priscilla Netts.
The Grand Marshalls were on board the lead boat for the Parade, “SunShine,” a fifty-five-foot, wide-body Viking captained by Yacht Club members Donna Heiss and Ken Mazzie. The Parade was held in honor of the late Joe Rizzo, the former head of the Flagler Education Foundation, a long-time champion of the Flagler County School System and a major contributor to the vitality of the Palm Coast community. Rizzo, who had battled heart issues for many years, died in March.
Sponsors for the radio broadcast were Benjamin Moore Paints, Coastal Cloud, Dan Newlin Attorneys, and Greg Lynn Jewelers. Special public service announcements were made possible by Craig Flagler Palms Funeral Home. The Parade was also made possible in part by a grant from the Florida Inland Navigation District, a tax-funded agency that ensures the Intracoastal Waterway remains navigable, and underwrites many grants that make access to the Intracoastal easier.
Says Parade Organizer Sarah Ulis, “Hundreds of hours were invested by these boaters in creating this magic for Palm Coast. It couldn’t have been a more perfect parade.”