By Martie Thompson
The annual Julington Creek Boat Parade known as “Christmas on the Creek” returns Saturday, Dec. 4 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 Julington Creek Marina, 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.
“This parade often signals the start of holiday entertaining,” Julington Creek Prop Club Commodore John Seybold said. “Many homes along the creek plan their holiday parties around the light parade and what makes the parade great is we get such good participation from the homes along the creek.”
Houses and docks along the creek are eligible for prizes for the best decorations and cash prizes are given to the top three decorated boats as determined by the judge boat. The judge boat posts itself almost out in the St. Johns River to view the parade of boats as they go by, and then falls in line behind the final boat to view the houses and docks along the way into Durbin Creek. Seybold said that after the parade, which lasts about two hours, boating participants return to the marina for a party with food and live music.
The parade is hosted by the Julington Creek Prop Club, but Seybold said it is not necessary to be a member of the club to participate. He said preregistration and attending the Captain’s Meeting on Dec. 2 at the Julington Creek Marina is recommended.
“Of course we actively encourage participation in the Prop Club, whether you own a boat or not,” Seybold said. “There is no minimum skillset required to join, just a general interest in boats and the desire to be sociable with like-minded people.”
Seybold has been a member of the Prop Club for 15 years and this is his second stint as commodore. He previously lived aboard a 50-foot trawler, but now owns a small daysailer. He said the Julington Creek Prop Club meets on the second Saturday of each month at 5:30 p.m. at the Julington Creek Marina and all are welcome to stop by and join the potluck dinner. Visit www.jcpropclub.com for more information.
The Christmas on the Creek boat parade takes place rain or shine and the Julington Creek Prop Club is grateful to sponsors O’Steen Volkswagen, Julington Creek Marina and Culhane’s Irish Pub, as well as many local restaurants and businesses.
“We hope everyone comes out to see the boat parade,” Seybold said. “It’s a great deal of fun for the participants and the community to get in the Christmas spirit.”
Photo courtesy Julington Creek Prop Club
“Christmas on the Creek” returns Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m