Thousands of people packed downtown Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday night to watch the Eastport Yacht Club’s 36th Lights Parade.
As the boats glided past, covered in lights and cheer, the watery runway amplified each bulb tenfold. Kids were bundled up for the weather — cold, but not bitterly so. Adults were sipping beverages.
A large silvery sailboat went by, with LEDs flashing in sequence where the canvas should have been. Not long after, a smaller boat outfitted to look like an old station wagon hauling a Christmas tree passed.
Both were potential winners to Campbell-Chambliss. And she would know — she competed in the parade for 22 years with her husband. They were known for their angel.
A winning boat needs simplicity, she said. “You’re at a distance and you don’t want to complicate anything,” she added.
She is now one of the “elves”that make the parade happen each year. In her time she has seen the event grow to draw interest from other counties and beyond.
The event was livestreamed online, and her brother was watching from Australia, she said. Last year viewers watched from 12 countries. People could also vote online this year for their favorite boat.
Babak Rajee, the head elf, said this year 34 boats participated in the parade.
People begin preparing five or six months out, and there was even a decorating seminar this year for people interested in learning how to participate.
“They really get in the holiday spirit,” he said.
It was the Chambliss’ angelt hat first inspired Rajee to get involved with the parade, and he is going to have his own boat float for the first time next year.
Best in Show: Defiant One
Best Illumination/Tom StalderAward: Cajun Queen
Best Animation: Rafinee
Best Christmas Spirit: Defiant One
Commodore’s Choice/Sail: Cajun Queen
Commodore’s Choice/Power: Rockhead
Small Sailboat: Wiggy Wiggy
Medium Sailboat:Cajun Queen
Large Sailboat: Rafinee
Small Powerboat: Clean Bottoms
Medium Powerboat: Defiant One
Large Powerboat: Julian Byng
Best New Entry: Julian Byng
Club Challenge: Julian Byng