Lighting up the river

Dori O'Neal, Herald staff writerDecember 7, 2012 

For almost 50 years, the Clover Island Yacht Club has sponsored the annual Lighted Boat Parade, which is Dec. 7-8 along the Columbia River.

Larry Kuga, event coordinator, has high hopes that this year's parade will be every bit as fabulous as last year's, maybe better.

"We've been aggressively encouraging boaters to join in the parade," Kuga said. "We found out many people think that since the Clover Island Yacht Club puts on the parade, only club members can be in the parade."

Not so, Kuga said.

"Anyone with a boat capable of making the trip is invited to be in the parade," he said. "There is no admission fee."

The only stipulation to boaters is that they must deck out their boats with colorful holiday lights. The yacht club created a website for the parade this year and invites people to check it out at www.lightedboatparade.com.

"After this year's parade, I'll be loading lots of photos and high-definition video of the parade on the site, so anyone who missed it, or wants to enjoy it again, can check it out."

The parade starts each night at 6 p.m. Boats start from the cable bridge at Clover Island in Kennewick and travel at a slow pace upriver to Howard Amon Park in Richland, arriving about 7:30 p.m. There will be caroling at the park before and after the boats arrive, along with barbershop concert by the Columbia River Chordsmen from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

The boats will then make a slow turnaround at Howard Amon and float back down the river to Clover Island. The round trip takes about three hours.

Viewing is best along Columbia Park in Kennewick as well as Columbia Point in Richland. For those less-adventurous types who prefer indoor viewing, the Crow's Nest at Kennewick's Clover Island Inn is a good spot as well as Cedar's restaurant next door.

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; doneal@tricityherald.com

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