By Martie Thompson
The annual Julington Creek Boat Parade known as “Christmas on the Creek” returns Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. to delight spectators with festive lights and holiday cheer. The community is invited to come out and enjoy the display.
Established in 1988, this annual event has an estimated 40 boats of all shapes, sizes, and themes that participate in the event. Boats decked out in all their holiday finery navigate the parade route, which begins at the Marina at Julington Creek, goes underneath the Julington Creek Bridge and around Bulls Bay, then returns under the bridge and continues down Durbin Creek. Spectators can view the boat parade from the Julington Creek Bridge walkways.
“It’s just amazing when you’re driving your boat under the Julington Creek Bridge and the people are watching from the bridge and cheering and yelling ‘Merry Christmas!’” Julington Creek Prop Club Vice Commodore Cyndi Marler said.
Marler has participated in the boat parade for four years and said she loves the joyous atmosphere. Boats play Christmas music and people on the boats sing and dance.
Homeowners with docks along the route also join in the fun by decorating their docks and cheering on the festive boats as they pass by, adding to the jovial spectacle.
Cash prizes are awarded to the best decorated boat and all participating boats also receive a gift bag. Marler said there is a judging boat at the end of the creek near the St. Johns River that the boats pass on the parade route. The dock judged to be the best decorated by the boat captains as they parade by is similarly awarded a prize.
Fireworks conclude the festivities and then after the parade, the captains and all the boaters are invited back to the Julington Creek Marina for the after party, which features live music and food.
“It’s a nice time for those who are not club members to learn more about the Julington Creek Prop Club,” Marler said.
Christmas on the Creek is sponsored by the Julington Creek Prop Club, which starts preparing for the event in October by contacting boaters, area merchants and residents to gather donations for the event. Approximately half of the boats participating in the parade are Prop Club members; the other half come from all over the area to join in the seasonal celebration.
The Julington Creek Prop Club is a social organization of boaters that meets on the second Saturday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Marina at Julington Creek. Annual dues provide most of the funds for Christmas on the Creek. All interested boaters are invited to join the Prop Club for boating information and fun. View the club’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jcpropclub/ for more information.
Photos courtesy Julington Creek Prop Club
“Christmas on the Creek” returns Saturday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.