With Santa, reindeer, and even an electrified Snoopy, a record 28 boats lit up No Name Harbor at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park Saturday, drawing a crowd of more than 100 to look at the dazzling light show.
The boats — and their costumed crews — took part in the 69th Flotilla Parade organized by the Key Biscayne Yacht Club.
New for this year was a “Paddle Flotilla” led by Santa and the elves, which organizers hope will start a new tradition for the event.
“I’m really glad to see the Village getting behind it,” said show emcee Theo Holloway. “I think the fact that we had a record number of boats is a testament to that.”
Parade watchers could see the boats — their masts and gunwales festooned with vibrant arrays — from the comfort of bleachers near the Cleat and Boaters Grill restaurants. A gift shop under a Tikki hut, helped to benefit Friends of Cape Florida, a citizens support organization for the park.
The winners — according to Holloway:
First Place — Randy Clark, Intrepid, 32-foot, for “A Tribute to Jimmy Buffett, Son of a Son, of a Son, of Son of a Santa”
Second Place – Felipe Porros, 25-foot Seacraft.
Third Place — Boat unnamed, Gustavo Guerini
Fourth Place — Tijereta, 35-ft Sea hunter, Luis de la Cruz, “the Junior Member Boat”
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.