The 44th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights had the theme Christmas Around the World, featuring nearly 70 festive boats. Photo by Chris Stone

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights announced it is returning after COVID with “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as the theme for its 50th boat parade.

The annual parade of decorated yachts, which was canceled in 2020 at the peak of the pandemic, is one of San Diego’s most beloved holiday traditions.

“It’ll be great to get back and celebrate the holidays on the water San Diego-style this year,” said Parade Chairman Larry Baumann. “The 12-days of Christmas is a traditional theme with tons of potential for fun and creativity. The kids should enjoy this year’s theme, in particular.”

The dates for this year’s parade are Dec. 12 and 19.

The boat parade brings more than 100,000 visitors to the waterfront to watch the procession of more than 80 lavishly decorated boats.

The parade starts at Shelter Island and travels west past Harbor Island, then south along the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Cesar Chavez Park before turning parallel with the Coronado Bridge to the west side of the bay. The parade then proceeds past the Coronado Ferry Landing to the finish line.

It takes about two hours to complete the procession, and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route.

A variety of prizes and awards are presented to the best decorated boats and those that best capture the parade’s theme.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.