Did the Grinch Steal the Boat Parade?
Sunday, December 15th, 2013
It was a humbug moment when we learned that the Grinch had stolen the annual Christmas Lighted Boat Parade in San Pedro. How on earth did we let this happen? To the dismay of many, many islanders and tourists alike, our Caribbean horizon lay dark the night the parade was scheduled to appear. How sad it was when our hopes of seeing the twinkling holiday lights illuminating the black waters were extinguished by a lack of boat participants.
We all agree that the Christmas Lighted Boat Parade is a fantastic addition to holiday activities on the island, and for many it symbolizes the beginning of the season. Not only do the residents consider it a family evening of fun, but it can be a tremendous draw for tourism. With that said, playing the blame game on how this annual event failed to happen this year hardly does any good, so let’s think about how we can guarantee that next year we will see the most spectacular boat parade yet!
Apparently one of the complaints from participants is the cost of decorating the boats. I wonder, what happened to the lights they used last year? I know all too well the life of Christmas lights are limited in this harsh environment, but do they need to completely replace their lights each year? One thought to alleviate decorating expenses is to run the parade more like a pageant, where local businesses and individuals could sponsor a boat for $500 worth of decorations.The sponsorship would have to be given in the form of a gift certificate to participating stores that carry lights. The boat of course could invest in more decorations above and beyond the $500 sponsor seed if they wanted. Registration would be limited to how many sponsors there are…so there would be an incentive to sign up early, and the more sponsors, the more boats. Beachside hotels and bars especially benefit from this event and should be the first to step up to the sponsorship plate.
We also need more support from the Belize Tourism Board and the San Pedro Town Council to make this signature event happen each year, and a committee that starts working on it in October. We can only imagine the time and energy it takes to organize such an endeavor and The San Pedro Sun is determined to help bring back the Christmas Lighted Boat Parade next year. We encourage the community to join us in this effort and assist the organizers in accomplishing this sorely missed holiday tradition…don’t let apathy take the holiday spirit out of our sails…we all want a Lighted Boat Parade on La Isla Bonita and together as a community we CAN make it happen.
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