Florida’s Christmas Parades of Lights


_MG_0945It’s December, and in Florida, that usually means pleasant outdoor weather. The temperatures lately have been in the upper 60s and 70s and perfect for most outdoor activities.

One of the many popular outdoor events held in December is the Annual Boat Parades.  The Tampa/Sarasota area has several parades scattered throughout the area. Visit this site and find one in your Florida area.



We chose the “Christmas Parade of Lights” in Sarasota since we live in the area.

I figured it would be crowded, but didn’t realize just how much. The snowbirds have started their annual migration to the local areas and that means crowded restaurants and limited parking. It also creates more traffic congestion, urgh!.  But, it’s good for the local businesses and helps keep our taxes down.

_MG_0890In my opinion, Marina Jacks would be the best place to view the boat parade downtown Sarasota.  Their restaurants all have comfortable seating, several bars, and one of the best views of the bay. The boat judging area is located on the boat dock at Marina Jacks too, and the boats make a turnaround in that area. The seating is limited and reserved, so, if you plan on scoring a decent table you need to call and make arrangements weeks ahead of time.

_MG_0835Note: The marina entrances and parking lots are normally blocked off during big events.

The Bayfront Park near the fountain just across the harbor of Marina Jacks is another great. parade viewing area.  After a brief walk around Marina Jacks and navigating the crowds, we decided on a brief walk over to Bayfront Park to see the parade.

maxresdefault copyMy suggestion: Bring a lawn chair, ice chest, snacks, drinks, etc., and set-up on the water side of the sidewalk several hours prior to the parade start. If you set-up on the opposite side of the sidewalk people will be walking in front of you all night trying to find a spot to view the parade. It gets very crowded in great weather. We had to park several blocks away off of Main Street from Marina Jacks due to the crowds.

_MG_0916I took some photos and a little video footage and uploaded the links to the stand-out floats here.






A view of the of Bayfront Park Fountain area from Marina Jacks Restaurant.

Contributed by: Martin J. Allred  http://www.Floridaography.com





About chowjudge

Martin Allred is a professional photographer and frequent traveler. His organization Nationwide Photographers provides Professional Photography throughout the USA and Canada. Martin is a native of New Orleans and currently resides in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.
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