More than 70 boats decked out with Christmas lights and a
fireworks finale thrilled thousands of onlookers at the Christmas
Boat Parade tonight.
Hundreds lined the waterfront in Hamilton, while more enjoyed the
spectacle from the Harbour Road, Paget, side of the harbour.
Craig Burt, of Warwick, watched the fun with wife Laura, daughter
Yasmin, 9, and her friend Jessica Simmons, 10, in Hamilton.
They saw brightly-lit boats decked out with movie and cartoon
themes, as well as more traditional Christmas messages circle the
harbour and a spectacular fireworks display.
Yasmin said: "I really liked the Star Wars one - but I liked the
mermaid one as well and the one with the dragon on it. The boats
are all beautiful."
Jose DeSousa watched from Front Street with wife Karen, and boy
and girl twins Sage and Nadia, 4, and daughter Sierra, aged 6.
Mr DeSousa, from St David's, said: "We wouldn't have missed it
for the world - we're here every time the Boat Parade is held and
it's been really good this year."
One boat was decked out with Santa and his sleigh running its
entire length - complete with Santa Claus in traditional red suit
and white beard.
One motor yacht, Bravo Zulu, spelled out "Peace on de Rock" along
its hull and attracted a large round of applause at it did the
The Star Wars boat played the iconic theme tune and trailed smoke
as youngsters dressed as characters from the film wielded light
Another featured cartoon star Charlie Brown. Even and even a
four-man rowing shell was lit up and joined the other boats.
The Bermuda Police Service got into the Christmas spirit - one of
their Marine Section patrol boats carried a massive Christmas tree
in lights and Santa Claus sitting in the stern.
Hamilton began to fill up with spectators well before the 6.30pm
start of the event, staking out the best spots along the
One staff member at the Hamilton Princess, where the parade
started, said the car park was filled to capacity shortly after
He added: "This is a great spot to watch the parade and the
commentary on it is here as well. It's a spectacular event and the
Princess Terrace is the perfect setting to enjoy it."
Kemar Maybury, who works at the Smokin' Barrel food wagon on Front
Street, said: "It's just crazy - we've been extremely busy. It's
Shane Tucker of Bermuda Wines and Spirits on Front Street, added:
"It's been really busy this evening. It's been great for business
generally in the city. There are lots of people about."
Police mounted a massive operation, with road closures and
officers on duty all around the harbour.
St John Ambulance Brigade also sent a volunteer team.
Jeffrey Borges, a human resources manager at a reinsurance company
and volunteer medical first responder and driver, said: "It's been
very quiet for us.
"But that's a good thing - we're here just in case. We were here
at the beginning and we'll stay beyond the end."
A police spokesman said: "It went off very well - there was a
substantial police presence because of the road closures and to
ensure public safety.
"We hope everybody enjoyed it and that Bermuda has a very happy
and safe Christmas."
The Boat Parade - which has become one of the biggest events in
Bermuda since it was founded in 1998 - attracted a near record
number of entries this year.
The event was founded by Guatemalan-born Norma Thomson, who missed
the boat parades in her former home of California.
The first event attracted a total of 92 entries, but numbers
dropped off in successive years until sponsors became involved and
offered incentives to participants. It has gone from a yearly event
to a biennial one.