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HomeNewsArchivesBedecked Boats, Brilliant Bursts Dazzle Holiday Throng

Bedecked Boats, Brilliant Bursts Dazzle Holiday Throng

A blue and gold aerial burst lights the sky at the 2009 Christmas Boat Parade in Christiansted.The crowds streamed through the streets of Christiansted, gathering by the thousands along the boardwalk and standing shoulder to shoulder in the park by Fort Christiansvaern Saturday evening. They were there to welcome what, since 1996, has become one of the highlights of the island’s holiday season: the Christmas Boat Parade.

Earlier in the evening, the crowds had been entertained by the Gentlemen of Jones leading Christmas carols, and mocko jumbies dancing in their oddly articulated gaits. But as the sun set and darkness spread over the water, the swelling crowd surged down to the waterfront as the boats got under way.

Vessels of all sizes, bedecked with holiday lights that ran up masts and along railings, motored through Christiansted harbor, with music – usually but not always Christmas music – blaring across the water to the crowds on shore. The lights outlined palm trees and accented giant inflated snowmen and Santas.

On shore, young and old alike applauded, cheered and generally enjoyed themselves, but the children were by far the more enthusiastic. By twos and threes and in packs they wove through the crowd, running, shouting and pointing at the boats. Some danced in excitement as the boats made their last lap, for they knew what came next.

The fireworks. For the last four years the boat parade has culminated in fireworks, and this year’s pyrotechnic extravaganza seemed especially fine, with multiple bursts bathing the harbor in reds, blues, white, golds and purples. The fireworks were visible even to the seemingly endless line of cars slowly making their way down King Street or up Company Street, and people sat on the hoods of parked autos or stood on their roofs to get a better look or grab a snapshot on a cell phone of the explosions lighting the night.

And then, just as the final bursts exploded in the sky, Mother Nature added her own counterpoint as the first drops of rain began to fall. Within 10 minutes the rain came in a steady drizzle, sending the crowds scurrying back up the streets and out across the island.

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