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Lighted Boat Parade Attracts Festive Crowd

There were lots of Alamedans along the waterfront Saturday night from about 5:30 to 7 p.m., during the annual Lighted Yacht Parade, which was held to entertain residents and generate support for the Alameda County Community Food Bank and the Oakland Firefighters Random Acts.

About two dozen yachts paraded up and down the Oakland-Alameda Estuary for the event.

Many Alameda families brought folding chairs and pets to the festivities, including a group of about 40 people who congregated near the headquarters of Wind River software (now owned by Cisco Systems).

Along the docks inside the harbor, there were planned and impromptu gatherings of party-goers. The Encinal and Oakland yacht clubs hosted their annual parties, as well.

The theme of the lighted-boat parade — “A Cartoon Christmas” — led one yacht owner to decorate his or her vessel with the character Bullwinkle J. Moose. There were tunes for the “Scooby Doo” cartoon series playing on another sailboat.

Some private vessels full of partygoers moved up and down the waterfront, occassionally blowing the powerboats’ horns. This prompted at least one local powerboat owner who stayed behind at the docks to toot his (or her) extremely loud horn, as well — making for quite a booming symphony of noise on and near the Estuary.

No word yet on the winners of the decorating contest.

Janet Levaux