On Saturday, December 14th, one of Bradenton’s most treasured traditions returns for its 22nd year. The Manatee River Boat Parade is a favorite among locals and visitors of all ages. It’s the county’s largest holiday celebration and attracts thousands of spectators who head down to the river to experience the magic.
The fleet of lighted vessels will congregate at Snead Island and then make their way up the river, entertaining parade watchers while competing for cash prizes and the winning title.
Each boat is judged on the overall theme, creativity, music, lights, enthusiasm, and crowd reaction. Judges will be stationed at the Bradenton Yacht Club, Riverhouse Waterfront Restaurant, and Pier 22. The parade will end at Caddy’s.
Want to watch the parade in style? Check out one of the VIP viewing parties at the Bradenton Yacht Club, Pier 22, Riverhouse Waterfront Restaurant, and Caddy’s. You can also get a great view of the parade for free from the Green Bridge and the Bradenton Riverwalk.
The parade start time varies each year, so your best bet is to check out the website (holidayboatparade.org) the day of the event for an update, then plan your evening accordingly. You can also follow the parade’s Facebook page so you can keep up on any news and updates.
This is a rain or shine event. As long as the conditions are safe for the boaters, the parade will go on as planned.
Discover Bradenton wants to know: What’s your favorite way to celebrate the holidays in and around Bradenton? Leave us a comment below!