Arts & Entertainment Community

Harbor Happenings: Lighted boat parade brightens up the bay

Posted on December 6th, 2023 By:

Holiday happenings are in full swing this week, with music concerts, cultural celebrations, photos and cookies with Santa, and lights – boats bedecked in holiday lights cruising the bay and the lighting of a menorah in Skansie Park.

The annual lighted boat parade, sponsored by the Gig Harbor Yacht Club, sets sail Saturday, Dec. 9. Dozens of boats of all sizes and shapes – from stand-up paddleboards and kayaks to yachts and possibly even a purse seiner or two — will make two slow, colorful laps around the harbor. As usual, the city’s police boat will lead the parade.

The parade starts at Arabella’s Landing Marina, 3323 Harborview Dr., at 5 p.m. There’s no cost to join and everyone with a watercraft is welcome to participate. Sign up by sending your name, boat name and length, and email address to [email protected], or via the Yacht Club’s website.

The Gig Harbor Lighted Boat Parade.

St. Lucia Festival at the museum

Gig Harbor’s Scandinavian heritage lights up the night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8 at Harbor History Museum’s St. Lucia Festival. Admission costs $5 and includes crafts, games and traditional Scandinavian snacks. Purchase tickets at the event at the museum, 4121 Harborview Dr.

Menorah lighting at Skansie Park

Gig Harbor celebrates Hanukah at 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10, in Skansie Park. A rabbi will light a menorah to recall the time, centuries ago, when a single-day’s supply of lamp oil lasted for eight days. All are welcome to participate.

Photo-ready holiday scenes

Grab your camera and meander along the waterfront to find holiday scenes perfect for photo ops.

Skansie Park has “Whoville;” the Bogue Viewing Platform has “It’s a Wonderful Life” and in Donkey Creek Park there’s a complete Holiday Village with seven unique spots for photos. Santa will be in the Holiday Village for photos from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, 10, 16 and 17.

Up the hill on Grandview Street, “The Christmas Story” awaits visitors at the Civic Center. The displays were created through a partnership between the Waterfront Alliance, Visit Gig Harbor and the city.

The bright, colorful Santa lane at Donkey Creek Park.

Cookies with Santa

PenMet Parks hosts Cookies and Cocoa with Mr. and Mrs. Claus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at Sehmel Homestead Park’s Volunteer Vern Pavilion. Low sensory hour is 1-2 p.m.

Kids receive cookie decorating kits, have photos taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus, make crafts and enjoy holiday music. Kiwanis members will be on hand to accept non-perishable food items for FISH Food Bank. Pre-registration is required. Register here.

Santa’s BoatShop

Kids are invited to build and paint their own wooden toy boats at the Gig Harbor BoatShop from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 and Wednesday, Dec.13. Cost is $15 for BoatShop members or $20 for non-members. Make reservations here.

Music in the air

The Narrows Music Society and Harbor Winds present an evening of musical “Winter Dances” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9,in the Gig Harbor High School auditorium. The program includes the music of John Williams, Dimitri Shostakovich, Jodie Blackshaw and other well-known composers. Free admission, but donations are welcome.

Hard Shell Cases plays music from the Emerald Isle and other gems in the Loft at Olalla Winery at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8. This three-piece band has been described as John Denver–meets Old Ireland–meets Andy Williams–with some Rolling Stones and bluegrass tossed in for good measure. Admission costs $15. Reserve tickets here.

Cruise the harbor aboard the Veteran

The BoatShop is booking evening tours of the harbor aboard the classic purse seiner Veteran most Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 23. Reserve the whole boat for up to six passengers to enjoy a view-from-the-water of the town’s holiday lights. Tours cost $390 for the whole boat and depart from the Maritime Pier next to the Tides Tavern at 5 p.m. Make reservations here.

Inclusive Youth Hangout

Gig Harbor Pride will host an Inclusive Youth Hangout event for 6th through 12th graders, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday Dec. 10. Participants will to watch “Elf,” play a gift-exchange game and enjoy fellowship and holiday snacks. All adults supervising this event have passed a background check and are parents of LGBTQ+ kids. Text 661-509-8390 to RSVP and receive information about the event location.

At the movies

The Flashback Cinema movie at Galaxy Theatres Uptown on Wednesday, Dec. 6, at “Elf.” Show times are 12:30, 3:15, 6 and 8:45 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 9 and 10, the Galaxy’s annual “Polar Express” extravaganza takes place. It’s a fundraiser for Toys for Tots –  bring a toy and get a free hot chocolate. Showtimes are 10 a.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday.

The Flashback movie on Sunday is “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” starring Chevy Chase and Randy Quaid. Showtimes are 10:35 a.m., 1:15 and 4 p.m.

Tickets for Flashback movies and the Toys for Tots fundraiser are just $5.

Civic engagement

  • The city planning department will hold an open house at the Civic Center from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7,  to share information and get feedback for updating the city’s comprehensive plan. Discussion topics include land use; transportation; housing; parks, trails and recreation; economic development and the community’s vision for the harbor.
  • The city council will meet Monday, Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. Agenda items include a public hearing on modifications to the 2923-24 budget; discussion of construction on Shirley Avenue; and improvements to the civic center’s HVAC system. The meeting will be held in person at the civic center on Grandview Street and online.