Key West Lighted Boat Parade

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Even though tropical climates are lacking in the wintry crest-fallen snow that makes it feel like Christmas, they make up for it in other ways. In the Florida Keys, towns throw together community lighted boat parades. The Key West celebration is such an attraction for locals and tourists that you better arrive hours before the parade to snag a decent viewing spot on the dock.

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The parades are actually a competition with local judges deciding which decked-out boat takes home the holiday prize.

These festivities are akin to your hometown street parade with local businesses, police officers and high school bands strutting about in Santa hats and holiday wear. But on the water, expect sailboats, yachts and dinghies to pass through the harbor all lighted up blaring Christmas music, perhaps with a live band aboard. The Coast Guard boats and local dive shops never fail to participate, and many Average Joes jump in to join the fun—though in the Florida Keys, your Average Joe is a bit atypical to the American norm.

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Some boats line the bow with Christmas trees and blow up snowmen. Even life-size Frozen characters and an inflatable large alligator in a santa hat made appearances this year.

So if you find yourself south this Christmas, check out the local happenings. They make for a unique and memorable holiday season.

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