Boat Parade Will Light Up Holiday Season

Water Ways
Honolulu Star Bulletin (12/20/97)
By Ray Pendleton

One of my favorite things this time of year is the festive atmosphere around the Ala Wai Small Boat Harbor.

Christmas lights are beautiful everywhere, but when they are sparkling across the water from scores of decorated boats, they can warm the most Scrooge-like heart. And just as you would find with household decorations, the boats' displays are as elaborate as the owners' imaginations.

If you haven't visited the waterfront after dark yet this year, I can suggest no better night than tonight.

At 5:30 p.m., many of the decorated boats will begin gathering in the turning basin - off the stern of the restored antique fire boat Abner T. Longley - to take part in the third annual Ala Wai Marina Christmas Boat Parade.

The parade will begin at 6 p.m. in front of the Texaco fuel dock, where the boats will be judged on the basis of such categories as Best Theme, Best Use of Lights, Funniest, Most Spirit, Best Power Boat, Best Sail Boat, and more.

Because the parade will eventually make it's way from the Ala Wai Harbor to the Aloha Tower Marketplace in Honolulu Harbor, the view should be spectacular from a number of different vantages.

Initially, spectators should find an up-close and unobstructed view from the Diamond Head end of Magic Island in Ala Moana Park. The parade of boats will make a perfect finish to a Saturday picnic.

For people more inclined toward indoor viewing and restaurant dining, there are several alternatives, each offering vistas of the Ala Wai Harbor.

For a lofty, bird's eye view of the parade, Sarento's Italian Restaurant at the top of the Ilikai Hotel will be hard to beat. But, there is also the hotel's waterfront Canoe's restaurant which will be closer to the action.

Closer still to the water, the Chart House offers nearly every diner and bar patron a second story, open window vantage of the harbor. And although just below it, the view from the Harbor Pub is somewhat limited, so getting one of their famous pizzas to go might be the better choice.

Also overlooking the Ala Wai Harbor are the restaurants located in the Hawaii Prince Hotel and they should provide excellent parade viewing as well.

The parade's flashy flotilla is scheduled to enter Honolulu Harbor around 7 p.m. and to be greeted with plumes of water from the Honolulu Fire Department fire boat. As the boats make their way through the harbor and pass in review by the Aloha Tower Marketplace, many shoreline locations will offer ideal vantage points.

Naturally, anyone visiting Aloha Tower Marketplace will be able to watch the parade, but the nearby Hawaii Maritime Center - home of the Falls of Clyde - and the adjacent Pier Seven restaurant might be considered as well.

Within the Marketplace itself, there are at least five establishments that would seem to be perfect for parade viewing, depending on where, or if, ships are tied up to the pier.

The Pier Bar, Scott's Seafood, Gordon Biersch and Hooter's are all at dock level, but each could have its vista obscured by a commercial vessel. With the Rodeo Cantina's second story location, a blocked view will be less of a threat

Wherever you choose to view it from, I hope you will enjoy the boating community's salute to the holiday season.

I also hope you and yours will have a very Mele Kalikimaka.

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