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2015 Holiday Boat Parade Guide

The Getty Yacht docks at Burton Chace Park, giving guests a front row spot to see the Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

The Getty Yacht docks at Burton Chace Park, giving guests a front row spot to see the Marina Del Rey Holiday Boat Parade (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

December is barely here, yet boaters in Santa Barbara and up and down the coast are already decking their bows with colorful Christmas lights! Attending a boat parade is a fun (and often free) way to celebrate the holidays in true California style.

Santa Barbara’s Parade of Lights takes place on Sunday, December 6th at 5:30 PM. Claim your spot somewhere between the City Pier and Stearn’s Wharf to see the colorful watercraft of all sizes glide along the water. Be sure to stay til the end for the fireworks show. And, get there early and head to the City Pier (near the Maritime Museum) to see revelers playing in tons of snow and enjoying other kid-friendly activities.

Just up the coast, Morro Bay in San Luis Obispo is holding its Lighted Boat Parade on Saturday, December 5th at 6:30pm.

The Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade is on Saturday, December 12th. I’ll be your host at Burton Chace Park, offering colorful commentary at the passing boats. It’s always fun and, if there’s a lull in the parade, we’ll recruit some kids to lead us in a round of Christmas Carols.

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'Santa's Helpers' assist boat parade announcers Lisa & Mickey Lazslo with holiday carol singalongs at Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey.

‘Santa’s Helpers’ assist boat parade announcers Lisa & Mickey Lazslo with holiday carol singalongs at Burton Chace Park, Marina del Rey.

Colorful fireworks will light up the Marina del Rey harbor at 5:55 PM, and the parade starts at 6 PM. The theme this year is “Adventures on the Sea,” and “Brady Bunch” mom, Florence Henderson, will serve as grand marshal.  You should find free parking in the L.A. County lots (Burton Chace Park is located at the end of Mindanao in Marina del Rey).

Redondo Beach and the community of Naples are also holding their parades on December 12th. Redondo Beach’s parade isn’t as elaborate as Marina del Rey’s, but it will still be plenty of fun. If you are in the South Bay, Click here to check out some of the prime viewing spots. The Naples Holiday Boat Parade in Long Beach starts at 7pm, but nearby streets close at 5pm, so plan to arrive early.

Also Read: Santa Barbara’s “Merry” Season

Dana Point‘s parade expands to two weekends this year, Fri/Sat Dec 11, 12, 18 & 19th. And, the Ventura Harbor Parade of Lights and fireworks show takes place December 18-19th. Ventura Harbor Village is ground zero for all the Santa Fun.

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The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is the grand daddy of Southern California boat parades, running for five nights, December 16-20th. Calling itself ‘the nation’s longest running lighted boat parade,’ some boaters spend $50,000 decorating their yachts and watercraft, vying for bragging rights and some wonderful prizes.  This parade has been going on for more than 100 years and the harbor is expected to be wall-to-wall boats again this year. I don’t know how the captains manage to keep from bumping into each other!

If you plan ahead, you might still be able to get a reservation at a waterside restaurant with a view. But, it can be just as much fun to watch the parade outdoors, it’s free and what a fun family Christmas activity!

Traffic411 Insider’s Tip: Dress warmly – it might feel cooler than the temperature outside sitting waterside to view the parade.

Enjoy this photo gallery of the 2013 Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade, photos by Ken Pfeiffer Photography

Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade 2013

It's a holiday tradition that I've had the honor of hosting for more than a decade, the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. For the first time, my co-host Mickey Czegledy and I broadcast from Fisherman's Village. Thanks to Ken Pfeiffer for sharing these beautiful photos.

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Colorful boats sparkle in the harbor next to Fisherman's Village, all decked out for the 51st Annual Holiday Boat Parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Lisa Osborne & Mickey Czegledy announcing the boats in the 51st Annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. This is the first year we were at Fisherman's Village. Normally we announce the parade from Burton Chace Park. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The Killer Shrimp (restaurant) boat (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Santa Monica Wind Jammers Yacht Club is usually a big winner at the parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Our friend Donna Leeds joins me and Mickey at the VIP party at Del Rey Yacht Club. It was fun to see this year's grand marshals, L.A. Lakers president Jeannie Buss and NBA Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson.
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That's a Wrap!! Thanks for the property managers at Fisherman's Village for hosting us while we announced the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. (l-r Debbie Talbot with LA County Beaches & Harbors, Lisa Osborne, Mickey Czegledy, former MDR Holiday Boat Parade president Diane Barretti (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

 

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Taft’s Oildorado Days

The Oildorado Days 'sheriff' and his posse rounded me up, fortunately I was able to talk my way out of going to jail! (Photo Traffic411)

The Oildorado Days ‘sheriff’ and his posse rounded me up, fortunately I was able to talk my way out of landing in the pokey! (Photo Traffic411)

I probably have my father to thank for my love of driving and the open road. As a child, my family was heading off on a road trip nearly every weekend in the summer, often to waterski at Lakes Naciemento or Mead.

So, when I had a chance to attend an Oil Summit in Kern County this week I went for it, even though it was a long day trip from Santa Barbara (note: watch for my upcoming post on the Summit, including my chat with iconic oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens). I’m so happy I did, in part because I got to experience the small town of Taft during it’s big city pride celebration.

Oildorado Days (which takes place every five years) is Taft’s way of paying homage to its earliest citizens. At one time the headquarters for Standard Oil (now Chevron), this town was built around oil. Today, a good portion of its 7,000 residents work in the oil business. There’s even a life size Oilworkers Monument.

Also Read: Stuck on Highway 166

Here’s my podcast with Taft city council member Josh Bryant. Josh tells me about some Oildorado Days activities including western traditions (the beard and bun contests), parades and even a three day music festival. This year’s Oildorado Days bash wraps up this weekend, but I still want to share this podcast with you, just in case it perks your interest enough to want to mark your calendar for the next Oildorado Days in 2020.

Josh Bryant explains what’s cool about Oildorado Days, along what’s so wonderful about visiting or living in Taft.

Taft's Oilworker Monument pays tribute to the city's earliest residents, and current citizens. (Photo Traffic411).

Taft’s Oilworker Monument pays tribute to the city’s earliest residents, and current citizens. (Photo Traffic411).

The Taft Monument to Oilworkers is the largest bronze sculpture in California (according to photographer Ben Victor, click to see his beautiful images), and worth seeing when you visit downtown Taft.

 

 

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Old Spanish Days Fiesta

Dancing at Santa Barbara's Old  Spanish Days Fiesta (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Dancing at Santa Barbara’s Old Spanish Days Fiesta (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Santa Barbarans are spending the week celebrating their beautiful city’s heritage, and you’re invited to attend many of the free events taking place around town.

Old Spanish Days Fiesta runs from August 5-9, 2015. The city comes alive with colorful Spanish dancers, dancing horses, a rodeo, two parades, live music on multiple stages and plenty of pageantry, food and drink.

What could be more breathtaking than a group of Spanish dancers in colorful gowns twirling on stage with Old Mission Santa Barbara or the County Courthouse as their backdrop? While you’re at the Courthouse, take a free tour. The clock tower (offering one of the best city views) recently reopened. Click here for a calendar of Fiesta events.

In this Lisa.FM/Traffic411 podcast, Old Spanish Days historian Erin Graffy explains the history behind this 90+ year city tradition. Her stories of the parade and rodeo will make you want to attend.

Santa Barbara historians Erin Graffy & her brother Neal Graffy offer insider tips for getting the most out of Old Spanish Days Fiesta. Ole! (Photo courtesy of Neal Graffy)

Santa Barbara historians Erin Graffy & her brother Neal Graffy offer insider tips for getting the most out of Old Spanish Days Fiesta. Ole! (Photo courtesy of Neal Graffy)

Plus, Erin’s brother, Santa Barbara historian Neal Graffy will share the history behind Fiesta traditions, such as the big rodeo and confetti eggs.  They’ll also tell you where to find the most authentic Spanish/Mexican food during Fiesta.

Dancers of all ages perform during Old Spanish Days Fiesta (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

Dancers of all ages perform during Old Spanish Days Fiesta (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

On Friday, Neal Graffy will provide color commentary during the Historical Parade  (El Desfile Histórico).  If you can’t make it to Santa Barbara to see the parade in person, you can tune-in online. KEYT-3 News will stream the parade live at KEYT.com 

KEYT senior reporter John Palmentari (left) with historian Neal Graffy at Fiesta 2014 (photo courtesy of Neal Graffy)

KEYT senior reporter John Palmentari (left) with historian Neal Graffy at Fiesta 2014 (photo courtesy of Neal Graffy)

¡Viva La Fiesta!

Traffic411 Insider’s Tip: Our Lady of Guadalupe (Church) Mercado serves the most authentic Mexican food during Old Spanish Days Fiesta.

Distance from LAX: 95 miles

 

 

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Building Santa Barbara’s Solstice Parade

Highway 101 through Santa Barbara will be busy this weekend, as tens of thousands of people stream into town for the annual Summer Solstice Celebration. The festival in Alameda Park begins Friday afternoon and runs through Sunday, but the biggest draw of the weekend will be the Solstice Parade, which begins on State Street on Saturday at noon.

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“Sci Fi” is the theme for this year’s Santa Barbara Solstice Parade (photo Lisa Osborn)

This year’s theme is “Sci Fi” so there will no doubt be plenty of ‘close encounters’ with all things Alien. No commercial or motorized floats are allowed. This parade uses 100% human power, so there will be plenty of pure creativity on display. Artists, float builders and volunteers have been working for weeks on their Solstice creations, making sure they’ll be ready for their ‘close up’ this weekend.

I got a sneak peek of the entries being built at Santa Barbara’s new Community Arts Workshop. While the Solstice crew has worked here before, thanks to generous community donations, “The CAW” is now the permanent home for Solstice float building.  The Solstice Parade’s artistic director, Riccardo Morrison, explains what is so great about having a permanent home base at The CAW.

Artist in residence Geoffrey Barber has participated in plenty of Solstice Parades. This year he’s creating a time machine.  Barber tells me what he likes best about Solstice, and how he’s had to improvise in past years, enlisting parade spectators to help power his float along the parade route. Click on the SoundCloud below to listen to Geoffrey’s entertaining stories!

Artist Geoffrey Barber (left) gets help from master builder to finish off his time machine in time for Solstice (Photo Lisa Osborn)

Artist Geoffrey Barber (left) gets help from a master builder to finish off his time machine in time for Solstice (Photo Lisa Osborn)

Santa Barbara teenager Will Hahn tells me he’s been participating in the Solstice Parade for most of his life. His father brought him here for the first time when he was three years old. Will describes what he’s building this year, and offers a tip for getting the most out of your Solstice experience.

Solstice web_cloud 1Artist in residence John Sinclair has been participating in Solstice since he was a student in Santa Barbara. Now living on the east coast, Sinclair returned to town to build his creation, “The Cloud.” And, this isn’t just a cloud in the sky, “it’s THE Cloud, as in the one where all of your personal information is stored.”

Sinclair explains, “Science fiction this year is the theme, and so, I thought, what is more science fiction than we’ll all day just be part of the cloud and not human entities anymore?” Click the Soundcloud to hear John explain how he crafted his Cloud.

To my delight, Sinclair invited me to be in the parade as part of the cloud!  I’m very excited so, if you are at the Solstice Parade, look for me, in the cloud!

The parade starts at noon on Saturday, June 20th, at Cota & State Street. A Solstice Celebration in Alameda Park runs from Friday Afternoon through Sunday, for details go to SolsticeParade.com

Traffic411 Insider Tip: If you want to see the parade, plan to arrive at least two hours early. Park near Alameda Park so you can enjoy the festival after the parade.

Distance from LAX: 97 Miles

Volunteers show off their creativity in between Solstice float building (Photo Traffic411)

Volunteers show off their creativity in between Solstice float building (Photo Traffic411)

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Find out more about Santa Barbara’s CAW in this video

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So Cal Parade of Lights

Celebrate the holidays California style at one of the many boat parades, from Newport Beach to Santa Barbara (Photo Traffic411).

Celebrate the holidays California style at one of the many boat parades, from Newport Beach to Santa Barbara (Photo Traffic411).

Celebrate the holidays California-style at one of the many colorful boat parades lighting up local harbors up and down the coast.  For more than 100 years, boaters have been decking their hulls (and bows and sterns) with colorful lights and fanciful decorations to dazzle viewers.  Spectators can enjoy the parade from the shore, a boat or inside one of the many bars or restaurants along the parade route.

So, bundle up and head for the coast as boaters compete for prizes and bragging rights. Whether you enjoy the parade from a harbor restaurant, on the shore or on a boat, bundle up and take in this Southern California holiday tradition.

  • Sunday, December 9th Santa Barbara Christmas Boat Parade: City Pier transforms into Santa’s Village winter wonderland. The Jolly Old Guy will feel right at home, he’s bringing 10 tons of snow for both the naughty and nice kids to enjoy. The parade begins at 5:30pm, followed by a fireworks display. This year’s theme is “Starry, Starry Night,” and with cold temperatures in So Cal, you should be able to see plenty of stars in the sky as well.
  • December 14th Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade: A fireworks display at 5:55pm kicks off this parade of lights. I am the ‘play by play’ announcer at this parade, announcing this year from Fisherman’s Village. This year’s theme is “Holiday Magic.”  L.A. Lakers owner Jeanie Buss and NBA coach Phil Jackson are this year’s grand marshals.

Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade 2013

It's a holiday tradition that I've had the honor of hosting for more than a decade, the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. For the first time, my co-host Mickey Czegledy and I broadcast from Fisherman's Village. Thanks to Ken Pfeiffer for sharing these beautiful photos.

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Colorful boats sparkle in the harbor next to Fisherman's Village, all decked out for the 51st Annual Holiday Boat Parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Lisa Osborne & Mickey Czegledy announcing the boats in the 51st Annual Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. This is the first year we were at Fisherman's Village. Normally we announce the parade from Burton Chace Park. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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The Killer Shrimp (restaurant) boat (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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(Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Santa Monica Wind Jammers Yacht Club is usually a big winner at the parade. (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)
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Our friend Donna Leeds joins me and Mickey at the VIP party at Del Rey Yacht Club. It was fun to see this year's grand marshals, L.A. Lakers president Jeannie Buss and NBA Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson.
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That's a Wrap!! Thanks for the property managers at Fisherman's Village for hosting us while we announced the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. (l-r Debbie Talbot with LA County Beaches & Harbors, Lisa Osborne, Mickey Czegledy, former MDR Holiday Boat Parade president Diane Barretti (Photo: Ken Pfeiffer/Traffic411)

  • December 14th Channel Islands Harbor (Ventura County): Snow and an appearance by Mr & Mrs Santa Claus are part of a day of fun that starts at noon. The “Jingle Bell Rock” themed parade lights up the harbor at 7pm.
  • December 20-21st: Ventura Harbor’s parade lights up the harbor for two nights and features a fireworks display. This year’s theme is “Seaside Tinsel Town.”
  • December 18-22  Newport Harbor Christmas Boat Parade “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree: In it’s 105th year, this parade is the granddaddy of them all, claiming it attracts more than 1 million viewers. Some boaters in this parade spend $70,000 or more (seriously!) decking their hulls for this five night extravaganza. I’ve been on the water during this parade, and the harbor is wall to wall boats of all sizes, you might even see a daring Santa or two on a stand up paddleboard! Check out these photos of winners from last year’s event!

 Traffic411 Insider Tip:  Dress warmly, in layers.  Even if temperatures don’t seem too cold, sitting along the water can feel cold and damp. If you are sensitive to cold, find a place indoors to view the parade (dinner reservations are a good idea to ensure the best spot).

I host the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. Beach Volleyball superstar Kerri Walsh     Jennings (right) was grand marshal of the 2012 parade.

I host the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade. Beach Volleyball superstar Kerri Walsh Jennings (right) was grand marshal of the 2012 parade.

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Pedal Power: Cyclists converge on Wilshire Boulevard

LA's Wilshire Boulevard is often crowded with cars, but not during CicLAvia: Iconic Wilshire Boulevard, Sunday June 23, 2013. (Photo Traffic411)

It’s a dream come true for cyclists who ride on busy city streets: No cars allowed.

Thousands of people had the chance to bike, skate or walk along one of L.A.’s most famous streets. A 6.3 mile stretch of Wilshire Boulevard was off limits to motor vehicles during today’s  “CicLAvia — Iconic Wilshire Boulevard.”

Having this often-busy stretch of Wilshire Boulevard all to themselves had riders in a good mood! (Photo Traffic411)

Tens of thousands of pedal pushers and walkers ruled the road, streaming up and down Wilshire Boulevard between Downtown Los Angeles (Grand) and the Miracle Mile (Fairfax).

CicLAvia takes over portions of Los Angeles every few months.  It’s a fun way for friends and families to enjoy the city streets with less traffic and pollution. Want to try it, too? Mark your calendar. The next CicLAvia is scheduled for Oct. 6.

All wheels welcome, as long as there's no motor attached, at CicLAvia's Iconic Wilshire Boulevard event. (Photo Traffic411)

Participants in CicLAvia: Iconic Wilshire Boulevard pedal past Museum Square on Wilshire Boulevard. (Photo Traffic411)

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