MIDDLE RIVER — On Saturday, November 30, the place to be is along Middle River for the largest boat parade in the Mid-Atlantic. This year marks the 16th annual Middle River Lighted Boat Parade, and organizer Jim High of Baltimore Boating Center anticipates 80-100 boats to join in the festivities.
Viewing is available at each of the five waterfront restaurants participating in the parade: Carson’s Creekside, River Watch, The Crazy Tuna, Sunset Cove, and – new this year – Long Beach Marina. Spectators can also view the parade from Kingston Park in Hawthorne and Wilson Point Park.
Captains and their crews try to outdo themselves each year with their themes and decorations. “We’ve seen bonfires, volcanoes, choo choo trains, live nativity scenes. Even fireworks being shot off the boats,” said High, who organizes the event with Pat Williford of Stansbury Yacht Basin.
“Nick Hock is putting together something very special,” added High. “He is a pyrotechnic engineer who has worked the boat parades for the last 15 years. He’s the Tony Stark of our zip code.”
High started the boat parade because he had experienced other lighted boat parades in waterfront communities such as Annapolis, Solomon’s Island, Kent Narrows, Alexandria Va., and the Baltimore harbor, and he thought Middle River should have one as well. Now, Middle River has grown to be the largest in the Mid-Atlantic.
Last year only 45 boats participated in the parade due to torrential rain. The first year, there were only 16. High said that good weather always play a factor in increasing participation.
Each captain who registers and participates will receive a package worth $325 from sponsors, which includes $25 gift cards from each participating waterfront restaurant and Pizza John’s, and paddleboard and kayak rentals from Baltimore Boating Center and Stansbury Yacht Basin. Captains must text their name, address, and boat size to (410) 463-2686 to register. There is no fee to enter your boat in the parade.
There will be toy boxes at each of the five restaurants. Visitors are encouraged to bring a coat, toy or non-perishable food items to donate. Brian K. Marchetti, who will be the Santa at The Crazy Tuna for the event, will donate the items collected at the restaurants to the Eastern Family Resource Center and other local organizations.
“I have been working the boat parade for several years, and I especially enjoyed the times I have spent at the Crazy Tuna. It gives me an opportunity to connect with my community, and anyone who knows me knows how important that is,” said Marchetti, who lives in Essex. “If you’ve never been to the boat parade I strongly urge you to attend. It’s an absolutely fantastic time no matter where you go see it.”
Entertainment at other venues includes Kanye Twitty at the River Watch Restaurant; This Your Monkey? at Long Beach; and food and drink specials at Sunset Cove.
In addition to being a great family event, the Middle River Lighted Boat Parade also helps boost the local economy.
“The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the slowest restaurant night of the year. Everyone is sitting home eating leftovers,” said High, who will have two of his new “Tiki Toons” pontoon boat rentals on the river that evening. “So we chose this night so the community can go out and support our local restaurants.”
All parade boats should check in at one of the five restaurants or Stansbury Yacht Basin before 5:30 p.m., then proceed to the front of Stansbury Yacht Basin and along Wilson Point for the parade start at 5:45 pm. The parade route is as follows. Times are approximate:
Carson’s Creekside/Dark Head Cove/Hawthorne (5:45-6:15)
Middle River Yacht Club/Crazy Tuna/River Watch (6-6:30)
Middleborough/Norman Creek/Crescent Yacht Club (6:15-6:45)
Bauernschmidt Manor/Eastern Yacht Club (6:30-7)
Rockaway/Turkey Point (6:40-7:10)
Bowleys Point/Bowleys Quarters (6:50-7:20)
Frog Mortar Creek/Sunset Cove/Long Beach Marina (7-7:45)
Back to Stansbury for Parade Disbursement (7:45-8:15)
16h Annual Middle River Lighted Boat Parade
Saturday, November 30, 2019
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Viewing from: Carson’s Creekside, River Watch, The Crazy Tuna, Long Beach Marina, Sunset Cove, Kingston Park and Wilson Point Park.
To register your boat, simply text your name, address, and boat size to (410) 463-2686. Captain’s package valued at $325 per boat for parade participants.