It is the holiday season. As such, parades are a de facto part of the holiday season celebrations. Most are accustomed to the Main Street type parades with firetrucks, floats, cars and people throwing candy. However, 2 years ago, we went to our first boat parade in Mystic, Connecticut. This year, we went to our second one called the HarborWalk Boat Parade.
As many of you know, we are in the Florida Panhandle along the Emerald Coast. The City of Destin, considered by many to be the heart of the Emerald Coast, is the location where the HarborWalk Boat Parade took place.
We decided to go early because you never know about parking or how many people will show up to a parade event. Also, before the parade, a local dance class was putting on a performance for parts of The Nutcracker. Mama Nomad and I had attended a production of The Nutcracker Ballet before. But, the boys hadn’t. So we decided to check it out.
We arrived at HarborWalk Village (10 Harbor Village, Destin, Florida) at 3pm. As we walked down through the eateries, stores and attractions, we passed some people playing street band music. Quite entertaining.
When we got to the stage area, Santa Claus was still taking pix with kids. So we found a bench and plopped down to wait for the performance. The description said they would be right after Santa and Santa would be finished at 4pm. Santa and Mrs. Claus finished up and left.
We waited but no performers showed up. After 10 minutes or so, we figured that they were not coming on until later. So, I scouted out some Hot Cocoa and brought it back. Before you ask, yes, it was chilly. It does get cool in the panhandle. And, to Floridians, it gets cold, like break out heavy jackets and beanie hats cold. Then we see someone from up north walk by in shorts, flip-flops and a polo shirt. It is interesting to see all of the different regions and cultures mix in one place like this.
At 5pm, The Nutcracker performance started. The dance class looked to be made up of young ladies from teenagers to little tykes. As I stated above, they were not there to put on the whole performance (which was a surprise to us). They performed select pieces from the ballet.
I have to admit something. There was a part where the soldiers, the mouse king and the mice were all dancing. One of the mice was a little girl who could not have been more than 3 or 4. Seeing her jump around the stage was so cute and entertaining that her performance was worth the wait. After this dance, we decided to go and try to find a good place to see the parade.
We thought about going into one of the waterfront restaurants, eating and watching the parade from inside, where it was warm. All of the restaurants were filled to capacity with zero seating. So, we continued to walk down the edge of the water along the wooden walkway and saw a few boat preparing to head out into the harbor. So we were able to see a couple of them close up.
We finally came to a corner that wrapped around a restaurant where no one was and we had a clear view of the harbor. So, we put our stake in the ground and decided to stay here.
I looked around and about 10 feet away I saw a bench against a wall. It was not attached to the ground, so we picked it up, brought it over to the edge of the dock and viola we had waterfront seating.
The parade started at about 6pm, after it was dark. One boat after another came down the harbor. They came in all size, shape and decoration level. Some were quite elaborate. Others were very simple, yet elegant. And a few looked like they did not even really try. Dozens and dozens of boats floated by filled with lights. This went on for about 30 minutes before the last boat floated by.
The HarborWalk Boat Parade was quite an enjoyable experience. It was different from the Mystic Boat Parade, but still fun. If you are in the Destin area around Christmas, the parade is worth checking out. Just find a bench, pull it up to the edge of the dock and enjoy. Safe Travels.