The Lighted Boat Parade is a long-time tradition of this riverside community, with boat owners of all types decorating their vessels for the holiday season and parading on the Tennessee River. Held on the Friday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 29, from 7 - 8 p.m., the event officially kicks off the Christmas season for many Chattanoogans. The evening starts with a lighted parade of approximately 40 boats decorated for the season, which circle between the Walnut Street Bridge and Olgiati Bridge.
During the parade, spirits are warmed with holiday music, food and drink concessions and a live Nativity scene. Following the boat parade, a glittering fireworks finale signals the illumination of 130+ downtown buildings, bridges and parks for the winter season when over 120 downtown buildings are lit from street to sky.
This year, the Lighted Boat Parade will coincide with the new Chattanooga's Gifts that Give Hope, also to be held in Coolidge Park. Chattanooga Gifts that Give Hope is being coordinated by Jill Yarbrough in honor of her late father and community philanthropist Porter Yarbrough.
Gifts That Give Hope provides an opportunity for people to give back to their community and honor their loved ones at the same time. Instead of buying traditional holiday gifts, shoppers honor their friends and family by donating to local nonprofits and supporting those who are not on anyone's list. For each donation that is made they receive an attractive card describing their donation to give to as a gift.
Santa will be on hand for photos at the carousel, which will also be open during the event.
Local non-profits participating in Gifts that Give Hope: Chattanooga Cares, The Forgotten Child’s Fund, Toys for Tots, Room in the Inn, Chattanooga Arboretum and Nature Center, Prison Prevention Ministries, Volunteers in Medicine and McKamey Animal Center. Go Fish of North Chattanooga will be selling Fair Trade items.
The Lighted Boat Parade is sponsored by Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union and Sunny 92.3.