Alexandria’s annual Boat Parade of Lights rings in December when dozens of colorfully lit powerboats and sailboats parade down the Potomac River.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, at the new earlier start time of 5:15 p.m, the parade begins, led by Alexandria’s fireboat Vigilant and Washington, D.C.’s fireboat John H. Glenn Jr., named for the former astronaut and U.S. senator.
The boats are dressed to impress a panel of judges who will award prizes in a dozen categories including Best in Show, Thinking Outside the Christmas Box and Hardiest Souls.
Pre-parade festivities begin at 3 p.m. at the city marina behind the Torpedo Factory and include free photos with Santa Claus for kids and canines plus free hot cocoa and cider.
This year’s boat parade is sponsored by the Old Dominion Boat Club in partnership with the Washington Waterfront Association. Dockside activities are presented by RedPeg Marketing.
The parade is the culmination of a day full of holiday festivities throughout Old Town Alexandria.
The 42nd Annual Campagna Center Scottish Christmas Walk parade starts the day with parading Scottie dogs, bagpipers and 100 Scottish clans at 11 a.m.
The beautifully decorated houses of the Campagna Center’s Holiday Designer Tour of Homes are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets are available for the tour at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Carlyle House presents A Soldier’s Christmas, where visitors can experience life in Alexandria at the time of the American Revolution with reenactments and festive entertainment from noon to 4 p.m.