Boat parade

Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights Sponsored by Amazon

Annual Christmas Event in Alexandria, VA
December 4, 2021
Parade 5:30 p.m.
Dockside Festivities 2 to 8 p.m.
Old Town Alexandria Waterfront

Old Town Alexandria's historic waterfront will shine for the 21st annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights sponsored by Amazon at 5:30 p.m. as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise along one mile of the Potomac River shoreline. Enjoy dockside festivities from 2 to 8 p.m. in Waterfront Park including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company and holiday music and giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM. Take part in hands-on activities including a Letters to Santa postcard station from paper goods boutique Penny Post and a holiday ornament activity from AR Workshop Alexandria. Enjoy savory bites from Mae’s Market and Café, gourmet popcorn from America’s Favorite Gourmet Popcorn and a hot chocolate bar from Dolci Gelati. At 3:30 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina to attend the annual Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday Festival. The boat parade is led by Alexandria's fireboat Relief and DC's fireboat John H. Glenn. This year's parade will close with the Ever Vigilant Fire Boat 57 from the Prince George’s County Volunteer Marine Fire and Rescue Station 57.

The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights is one of two parades along the Potomac River with The District’s Holiday Boat Parade taking place at The Wharf in Washington, D.C. the same evening at 7 p.m.

Boat Parade Logo

Sponsored by

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List of Participating Boats and Themes

During the parade, look for the number on each boat to identify them on the list found here. Boat numbers do not indicate parade order.

Event Schedule

Activities 2 to 8 p.m.

  • Holiday music and giveaways from 97.1 WASH-FM
  • Letters to Santa postcard station from Penny Post
  • Holiday ornament activity from AR Workshop Alexandria (2 to 5:30 p.m.)
  • Torpedo Factory Art Center Holiday Festival
  • Santa arrives by fireboat at the Alexandria City Marina (3:30 p.m.)

Food and beverage offerings 2 to 8 p.m.    

  • Pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company
  • Savory bites from Mae’s Market and Café
  • Gourmet popcorn from America’s Favorite Gourmet Popcorn
  • Hot chocolate bar from Dolci Gelati

Parade 5:30 p.m.

  • Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights begins*

Parade Details

Parade Start Time and Duration: The parade begins at the Alexandria City Marina at 5:30 p.m. and can be viewed in public parks along Alexandria’s waterfront. Plan to arrive early and allow plenty of time to get to your parade viewing site to ensure that you don’t miss the parade.

*Please note the duration of the parade can vary from 30 minutes to an hour based on total participants, cruising speeds and river conditions.

Parade Viewing Areas: The parade stretches for one mile along Old Town Alexandria’s waterfront. Please note there is limited visibility within the Alexandria City Marina (0 Cameron St.) while parks offer a more comfortable, less crowded viewing experience.

COVID-19 Safety

To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Alexandria Health Department recommends that masks be worn during outdoor public gatherings where conditions are crowded and close contact cannot be avoided, regardless of vaccination status.

Getting Here

The parade is accessible via Metrorail (blue and yellow lines), bus, Lyft, Uber, taxi, Capital Bikeshare and more. If on King Street, hop on the free King Street Trolley to the end of the line at Market Square and walk to viewing points along the waterfront.

Parking garages closest to the waterfront fill up in advance of the event and street closures near the waterfront are often in effect based on the high volume of traffic. 

About the Parade

Amazon is proud to sponsor the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights and partner with Visit Alexandria on such a beloved community event. The parade is produced by Visit Alexandria in collaboration with the City of Alexandria, City Cruises anchored by Hornblower and the Old Dominion Boat Club.

Boater Registration - Closed

Boater registration is closed. Information for registered boats can be found here or by contacting alexboatparade@visitalexva.com.

Congrats to the 2019 Winning Boats!

Many thanks to all 60 boats who put on a spectacular show for Alexandria's 20th annual parade. The judges had a very difficult task selecting only ten winners.

2019 Best of Alexandria Show: “Peace,” Anamchara, Captain Steve Preda
2019 Best of Alexandria Show: “Peace,” Anamchara, Captain Steve Preda
2019 Best Powerboat: “Carol of the Bells,” A Blast, Captain Steve Gwensberg
2019 Best Powerboat: “Carol of the Bells,” A Blast, Captain Steve Gwensberg
2019 Best Sailboat: “Under the Sea,” Tuesday, Captain Joe Landa
2019 Best Sailboat: “Under the Sea,” Tuesday, Captain Joe Landa
2019 Thinking Outside the Christmas Box: “Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights,” Letter of Marque, Captain Walter Weiss
2019 Thinking Outside the Christmas Box: “Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights,” Letter of Marque, Captain Walter Weiss
2019 Most Holiday Cheer: “Christmas on the Potomac,” Kairos, Captain Tipper Williams Bradford
2019 Most Holiday Cheer: “Christmas on the Potomac,” Kairos, Captain Tipper Williams Bradford
2019 Best Theme: “A World Series Christmas,” Escape Plan, Captain Timothy Smith
2019 Best Theme: “A World Series Christmas,” Escape Plan, Captain Timothy Smith
2019 Best Theme: “A World Series Christmas,” Escape Plan, Captain Timothy Smith
2019 Best Theme: “A World Series Christmas,” Escape Plan, Captain Timothy Smith
2019 Best Spirit of America: “Go for the Moon: Merry Astronautical Christmas,” Dark Star, Captain Doug Savage
2019 Best Spirit of America: “Go for the Moon: Merry Astronautical Christmas,” Dark Star, Captain Doug Savage
2019 Most Spirited Crew: “Disco Christmas,” Moondance, Captain David Huebner
2019 Most Spirited Crew: “Disco Christmas,” Moondance, Captain David Huebner
2019 Hardiest Soul: “Santa Goes Fishin' with Buddy the Elf,” Canoe See Me?, Captain Adam Cope
2019 Hardiest Soul: “Santa Goes Fishin' with Buddy the Elf,” Canoe See Me?, Captain Adam Cope
2019 Best Try: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” American Girl, Captain John Gaydos
2019 Best Try: “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” American Girl, Captain John Gaydos
  • Best of Alexandria Show: Anamchara, Captain Steve Preda, “Peace”
  • Best Powerboat: A Blast, Captain Steve Gwensberg, “Carol of the Bells”
  • Best Sailboat: Tuesday, Captain Joe Landa, “Under the Sea”
  • Thinking Outside the Christmas Box: Letter of Marque, Captain Walter Weiss, “Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights”
  • Most Holiday Cheer: Kairos, Captain Tipper Williams Bradford, “Christmas on the Potomac”
  • Best Spirit of America: Dark Star, Captain Doug Savage, “Go for the Moon: Merry Astronautical Christmas”
  • Most Spirited Crew: Moondance, Captain David Huebner, “Disco Christmas”
  • Best Theme: Escape Plan, Captain Timothy Smith, “A World Series Christmas”
  • Hardiest Soul: Canoe See Me?, Captain Adam Cope, “Santa Goes Fishin' with Buddy the Elf”
  • Best Try: American Girl, Captain John Gaydos, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town

AMAZON and the AMAZON logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.

Presenting Partners

Visit Alexandria Logo

City Cruises logo

Old Dominion Boat ClubAlexandria City Governement Logo

Media Partner

Wash-FM

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