Lots of cities have Christmas parades, but Venice has something even better: an annual holiday boat parade, with dozens of watercraft of every size and style decked out for the holidays in dazzling lights and decorations. Spectators line the Intracoastal for miles, so close to the boats that they can see every detail of the seasonal festivities.
This year’s parade—the 30th—starts at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1, just north of the Albee Road Bridge. Many people watch from the many public areas along the parade route, including the North and South Jetties; others settle in for a meal and viewing at one of several waterfront restaurants along the route.
Organizer John Osmulski, who has been running the parade for the last 14 of its 30 years, says that wherever you decide to watch, you can expect “a big show,” one that he says gets better every single year. (Osmulski moved to Key West several years ago and says this will be his last year heading up the parade.)
Visit venicechristmasboatparade.com for details about the route, and be sure to arrive early enough to secure prime viewing. And in the unlikely event of rain, the boats will sail the next day, Sunday, Dec. 2.