Anchor yourself at this year's Parade of Lights

If you love an above-board boat parade competition, spectacular fireworks and an old-fashioned Christmas concert and artisans market, then you won’t want to miss Cayman 27’s annual Parade of Lights Saturday at Camana Bay. And it’s all free. 

The Christmas Market, which will be in full swing along the Festival Green as of 5 p.m., will include local food and crafts. Refreshments will be available along the Crescent and the Festival Green.  

At 6 p.m., the Church of God’s children’s choir and the First Baptist Church sanctuary choir will entertain the crowd. This will be followed by the boat parade, the highlight of the evening. Viewers can take their spots anywhere along the waterfront area to take in the show. 

Every year, boat owners create colorful displays with hundreds of twinkling lights and parade on the waterway for all to see. The competition includes two categories: boats that are 31 feet or more, and smaller boats up to 30 feet.  

The winning boat in each category will receive a glass-blown trophy and $2,000. Competing boats are judged on “wow factor,” creativity, use of color and overall impression.  

Last year’s winners, Sunset Divers and Wanda and Ladner Watler, will compete again this year in the hope of retaining their titles.  

The night will conclude with a fireworks display at 8 p.m. 

The Parade of Lights used to take place at Hog’s Sty Bay for many years until Hurricane Ivan hit the island. “It was created many years ago, by now-retired Cayman 27 general manager Mike Martin,” said Monique Hather, volunteer coordinator of the event. “It was his vision to provide the Cayman community with an experience they would treasure and share with loved ones during the holiday season. Today, we strive to keep his vision going and only hope we can measure up,”  

In 2009, the festival was moved to its new home at Camana Bay, and Hather says the harbor at Camana Bay offers parade participants safe waters, providing significant shelter from the prevailing winds this time of year. The venue also has extensive space for spectators to enjoy from multiple vantage points.  

For those who are unable to make it to the venue, the event will be televised live on Cayman 27, with hosts Vanessa Hansen and Kevin Morales, starting at 6 p.m. Viewers at home can also catch it live-streaming online on the station’s website, www.cayman27.ky, making it available for viewing by friends and families around the world. 

For those attending the event, parking will be available in all Camana Bay lots, including the vacant lot adjacent to the Arts & Recreation Centre. If arriving by boat, a slip reservation must be made by contacting [email protected] or 640-4000. 

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Boats festooned with thousands of twinkling lights sail past the harbor at Cayman 27’s annual Parade of Lights, a highlight of the festive calendar. – Photos: Stephen Clarke

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