Island’s Lighted Boat Parade Illuminates the Laguna Madre

Fireworks on the bay at the 2019 Christmas boat parade in SPI. Photo: Tony Vindell

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Many cities in the Rio Grande Valley have a parade on land this time of year in celebration of Christmas.

South Padre Island has their parade over the waters of the Laguna Madre and the reason for that is because of its location and the number of private and commercial boats found here.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, it hosted the 2019 parade which took place with the participation of 19 boats parading their way from west to east in front of scores of spectators who sat or stood by the many businesses located along the Island’s Entertainment District on the bay side.

One by one, the lighted boats went by as people applauded or watched in awe of the potpourri of bright and colorful displays.

An occasional firework exploded above making the scenery a lot brighter.

Ed Caun, director of the Island Convention Centre, said this year’s parade had the most entries.

Phil and Julie Baker of Indiana and Ben and Basilia Medina of Brownsville said they enjoyed the boats procession.

“We have been coming here since the late 80s,” Julie Baker said. “We have watched the parade on and off ever since. It’s pretty neat.”

Medina said the first time he saw a lighted boat parade was 25 year ago.

Years ago the town and the City of Port Isabel starting hosting a lighted boat parade but due to some issues, the annual event was called off until Island officials decided to take over the event and began doing so in 2017.

One of the boats at the 2019 Christmas boat parade in SPI. Photo: Tony Vindell

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