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Float On, Santa: Portland's Annual Boat Parade Rides Again
December 11, 2020

Float On, Santa: Portland's Annual Boat Parade Rides Again

by The CE Shop Team

Soak Up Portland’s Beloved Annual Boat Parade

Not even COVID-19 can stall the Christmas Ships boat parade, a beloved and festive Portland tradition. Every December, thousands of locals and tourists alike flock to the banks of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers for a bright and cheery parade of lights. This year, you can safely get in the holiday spirit by soaking up this nautical display.

Portland’s Annual Christmas Ship Parade

The boat parade tradition began in 1954 with a single sailboat adorned in red and green ribbons. Within a year the idea gained traction as more and more local boaters turned out to spread the holiday spirit. Before long, festive light displays were added to the vessels, allowing visitors near and far to join in on the cheer.

Today, 55-60 boats delight passersby every holiday season. Each features its own unique light display, from cheery reindeer to dancing hippos. While new boats are always added, many of the displays remain the same year after year, so you never miss your favorites. In fact, when skippers retire, they will even pass down their well-known displays.

In true holiday spirit, each boat owner generously builds their own display and covers all operating costs, including fuel. Talk about a gift to the community! Skippers, their friends, and family do get the extra-special gift of private parties aboard the vessels, which we’d call a definite win-win.

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How to Catch the Christmas Ship Parade in 2020

A viewing of the beloved annual Christmas Ships Parade is the perfectly distanced holiday excursion as you can safely enjoy the show from the riverbanks! While reservations at nearby restaurants are often nabbed a year in advance, you can likely still find a spot to settle in and enjoy the lights. Schedules vary for the Columbia and Willamette fleets but, with shows nearly every night, there should be a slot for just about everyone.

Looking to make the move and catch the parade every year? The average home price in Portland is $487,177, a 7.6% increase from the previous year. Zillow predicts this figure will rise another 8.7% in the next year.

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