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Archive for December, 2012

Seasons Greetings from Seattle

Dec
25

Seattle Argosy Christmas Ship Parade 2012

Wow. We recently discovered what may be the best holiday festivity –ever. It’s the Seattle Christmas Ship Festival. Apparently every year this annual Northwest tradition draws thousands of visitors and natives to Seattle shores. The festival dates back to 1949 when the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation officially named a decorated boat parade the “Seattle Civic Christmas Ship Festival” to commemorate Seattle’s proud maritime history.

We decided somewhat on a whim to check out the festival since we’d heard that it was “pretty neat”. Well, were we ever pleasantly surprised at just how magical it turned out to be. Even though I’m used to seeing and photographing neon lights and impressive casino hotels on the Las Vegas strip, the lights here amazed me. At least a hundred boats lit up Lake Union as they sailed in for the celebration. Christmas lights of every color adorned each boat. Since there was a contest for best decorated, boat owners went all out in decking out their vessels. Each one was unique. One boat even displayed a full size real Christmas tree on its deck.

The Spirit of Seattle is the designated Christmas Ship, operated by Argosy Cruises. Patrons can purchase tickets to ride the Christmas Ship that leads the parade, or one of the Argosy ships that follow. On board, there are family friendly activities, including a visit from Santa, dining, and a local choir. All the boats stop briefly and gather around the Christmas ship during a performance by the choir.

We joined the party on shore where communities congregate around bonfires near the waterfront to witness the spectacular views. It was quite a remarkable experience to warm up by the fire, sip hot chocolate, and listen to the choir. On the night of the grand finale, even the rain couldn’t stop thousands of people from coming out and enjoying Christmas carols sung by the Seattle Girls’ Choir. For us, the rain created awesome atmospheric conditions that turned the sky in this photograph gold, illuminating the Seattle skyline.

According to Seattle PI, the number of participants has tripled since the festival began. One of the coolest things were the kayakers who floated alongside the huge ships in their own light-adorned watercrafts. And then there was the guy on the paddleboard decorated completely with glow sticks. Yes, in the 40-degree-and-raining weather. Now that’s Christmas spirit. Our goal next year is to bring our own kayaks out from Las Vegas to Seattle and join in on the fun. Merry Christmas!

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