The 26th annual Boat Parade of Lights sails its way through Sarasota Bay Saturday with boats decked out in tropical Christmas displays.
When and Where is the parade?
The parade kicks off at 6 p.m. at City Island near the New Pass Bridge and makes its way south through Sarasota Bay, under the new Ringling Bridge and into the Island Park basin around 6:45 p.m.
Where should I watch?
Viewing areas are available around City Island, Centennial Park and Island Park, which is the most popular. Marina Jack will have a live broadcast of the event and host the parade judging there.
Viewing from the Ringling Bridge is not advised due to limited parking near the bridge and police will move people along standing on the bridge to avoid blocking pedestrian traffic.
Where should I park?
Park in Bayfront Drive lot, Gulfstream Avenue and the Palm Avenue Parking Garage for viewing along the Sarasota Bayfront from the mainland. Parking is free in the garage and on the street.
The Bayfront Drive lot next to Island Park will be closed once it is filled to capacity.
Centennial Park has vast parking, but arrive early to claim your viewing spot.
On City Island, parking is tight and limited as Sarasota Sailing Squadron members often show up en masse and fire up the grill and have a party.
What's the traffic situation?
Expect traffic delays on U.S. 41 along the Bayfront and Island Park area from 5 p.m. until approximately 9 p.m. Traffic could be heavy headed into St. Armands and City Island.