Boat parade lights up the holidays

Christmas tree lighting and Nautical Mile festivities welcomes hundreds of families


Despite heavy rain, hundreds of families visited Freeport for an evening of holiday celebrations last Saturday. The night started with the lighting of the village Christmas tree and menorah at Sunrise Highway and Church Street. The festivities then carried over to the Nautical Mile, where people lined the docks to check out holiday-decorated boats for the annual Nautical Mile Holiday Boat Parade.

Freeport children were singing Christmas carols when Santa Claus appeared in the crowd on the Nautical Mile esplanade before the boat parade. With a hearty “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Santa Claus joined the children in singing, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” followed by “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah.” After a few rounds of song, the Nautical Mile Christmas tree was lit. Families were seen taking pictures with Santa in front of the tree and enjoying the free pretzels and hot chocolate.

“It was great to see Santa,” Lauren Sam, 8, from Brooklyn, said with a smile.

“All the little boys and girls from Freeport, you have to be good,” Santa bellowed, “because Christmas is just around the corner. Remember to help mom and dad and be good for goodness sake. Merry Christmas!”

Taking a bite of a pretzel, Freeporter Malachi Johnson, 12, shared that he was excited to have sung Christmas carols by the tree, but best of all, he said with a laugh, “I liked the hot chocolate.”

Waiting for the boat parade to start, children ran around the esplanade, playing and singing. “These events are really good for the kids,” said Camile Wade, visiting Freeport from Brooklyn. “They get to see the whole community come together.”

With the parade under way, the decorations and lights on the boats dazzled the crowd. The luminous, hour-long procession made its way down Woodcleft Canal, past Sea Breeze Park to Randal Bay and back. During the parade, Santa was also spotted riding a personal watercraft near Sea Breeze Park.