Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I Saw Twenty Ships Come Sailing In…
It's one of Portland's longest-running annual events, and I had almost completely forgotten about it.
It's been years (or maybe decades) since I'd watched the parade of Christmas Ships, but when my friend Bette said she had two prime viewing seats available from the bar at Salty's on the Columbia, I was happy to hop on board. Especially since evening temperatures were hovering in the 20s and Dave and I could slip out to the copious deck (under a heater) for a closeup view, then pop back to our table in the bar for the big picture.
A little nosh with our Christmas parade? Sure!
The parade was started in 1954 by one lone sailboat bedecked with green bows with some ribbon tied along the rails, and it sailed up and down on the Columbia and Willamette rivers to celebrate the Christmas season. The next year some other hardy souls joined the first boat, and subsequent years saw the parade grow until the fleet now averages about 55 to 60 boats between the two rivers.
From the first garlands and bows of that first boat there's now some stiff competition to have the best lighted, and even animated, display, though any of the captains will tell you it's not about beating out the other boats. (Yeah, right…) The parade runs through Dec. 21st this year with sailings every evening on both the Columbia and Willamette. Complete schedule is available on the website.