San Rafael celebrates annual lighted boat parade

December 7, 2018 by  

Since 1966, lighted boat parades have sailed down San Rafael Canal. This year, the tradition continues.

The parade will start with a San Rafael Police Boat named ‘Mission City’. Santa will be on board this boat, opening the celebration. Following Santa’s boat will be many other vessels with holiday revelers. Many of these boats play music or have signs and banners up wishing season’s greetings. This is a free event, and all are invited to watch. There are some restrictions on boats that can participate.

This parade has over 50 years of history, and started in 1966 when the San Rafael Chamber of Commerce decided to host a daytime parade, which had 58 boats participate. By the 1980s, there were close to 80 boats participating, and more people were watching. Traffic slowed on nearby highways and roads.

Every year, there is a beneficiary of these parades. This year, the San Rafael Santa Cop program will receive aid in their goal of making the holidays brighter for children who otherwise might not have anything, and trying to build closer relationships between police, firefighters, and the communities they serve.

Events like this often benefit from banner printing. There may be a banner denoting the starting point, and many of the individual boats may also have banners or signs. This event will start, rain or shine, at 5:30 pm on Saturday, December 15.