Fort Myers Beach Christmas boat parade floating into the holiday season

Reporter: Zach Oliveri Writer: Matthew Seaver
Published: Updated:
(Credit: WINK News)

People from all over were set up in folding chairs with their cellphones out ready to take photos of the colorfully decorated boats during the Fort Myers Beach boat parade on Saturday night.

The parade is all about being with family and friends officially starting the Christmas season. It is Christmas Southwest Florida style.

The decorative boats floated along Fort Myers Beach. Their railings with lights all a glow all to spread some Christmas cheer.

Lawrence Cremia from Fort Myers said, “instead of driving around to see the lights. The lights come to you.”

This is the fourth year of participating in the Fort Myers Beach boat parade for Cremia and Leslea Ellis. Every year they look forward to seeing all the smiling faces.

“I like to see the people as we go by houses and they’re just really excited. The kids are excited to see all the lights,” said Cremia.

Ellis said, “this is really one of the pivotal events here in Fort Myers.”

“For me, this is the start of the Christmas season,” said Cremia.

As the sun went down on Saturday, the boats took off. Illuminating the water with Christmas creativity.

Cruising past all the people watching from the shore so everyone can get a good look.

Craig Reedy from Cape Coral said, “it’s about having all the people here and enjoying you know the Christmas spirit.”

The Fort Myers Beach boat parade has been a holiday season staple for more than 30 years.

WINK News spoke with people who saw the parade for the first time this year, and are ready to start a new holiday tradition.

Melissa Sims said, “you really felt the Christmas down here.”

Joan Marshall agreed, saying, “it’s just a good time for everybody to get together and enjoy the holidays.”

Sims said, “it makes me very happy that I moved down here and become part of the community.”

It took a lot more than Christmas magic to get all the boats ready for the parade.

Cremia said their setup, which included synchronizing lights to music, takes 12-14 hours to install and nearly a thousand hours more to program all the songs to the lights.

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