By Ken Stern 

Boat parade lit up La Conner Saturday evening


December 15, 2021

A BRIGHT NIGHT ON THE CHANNEL – Saturday brought dozens of boats all lit up and with some place to go: They were in the Swinomish Yacht Club’s lighted boat parade. More photos and the story behind the first La Conner boat parade some 50 years ago on page 9. – Photo by Nancy Crowell

What must have been a record crowd came to La Conner’s boardwalk Saturday evening to watch over two dozen boats invited and organized by the Swinomish Yacht Club cruise slowly up the Swinomish Channel in the annual lighted boat parade.

There were smaller boats and larger boats, together in a combination of rainbow colors from green and red through blue and, of course, white. There were all kinds of blown up lawn ornaments, from deer to Santas, snowmen and more. Music came from some boats, yells and shouts of “Merry Christmas” from others, including one child’s voice. “God bless us, everyone” was not heard.

Folks shouted back from the boardwalk, sometimes as small groups in unison. Many waved on their own or in response to waves and honking from the channel.

Last year there was no official boat parade, but still people came, almost all of them masked in the first year of the coronavirus pandemic. This year, mostly unmasked people were cheek to jowl on the railing and as many as four deep in the section from Hellam’s Vineyard to Nell Thorn.

Yes, the wine tasting rooms and restaurants alike were packed, including Waterfront Café, typically closed in the evenings.

The first boat passed the lighted tree in Gilkey Square at 6:13 p.m. The last boat passed Calico Cupboard at 6:35 p.m. People started for their cars immediately, crowding the boardwalk and First Street.

Those that left first got out of town faster. For everyone else, including locals, they were stuck in bumper to bumper traffic during La Conner s annual post-boat parade traffic jam. At 7:05 p.m. vehicles were at a stop across from the post office in a line that stretched east to the roundabout. It is not known how late it was when traffic again flowed freely.

La Conner was once again a lucky place to be,, as by 4 p.m. the weather defied the forecast: The rain stopped, the skies cleared to high scattered clouds and the stars shared the darkness with a half moon.

It was perfect weather and a great night for a parade of any kind. Folks streamed into La Conner in the afternoon and slowly crawled out that evening.


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