A Moving Display Of Holiday Lights In Dunedin, Florida

With a nickname like the Sunshine State, it may seem odd that Florida is home to so many holiday events. From the annual St. Augustine Christmas Parade, to Santa’s Enchanted Forest in Miami, to the myriad of Christmas events in Orlando, Florida is a literal hotbed (no pun intended) of holiday festivals. While these big productions are always entertaining, I much prefer the community-based celebrations  hosted in the small towns around the state. One of my favorites is the moving display of lights in Dunedin, Florida. And when I say “moving,” I’m not talking about the “bring you to tears” kind of moving. I mean they were literally moving – on the water. At Dunedin’s annual Holiday Boat Parade last night, thousands of people gathered on the waterfront to watch perhaps three dozen wildly decorated boats sail into the marina.

From Christmas trees to an American flag, boats were decked out in all manner of themes
Christmas lights reflected in the still waters of the marina

On one sailboat, an American flag in lights had been strung amidst its rigging and two women, dressed in red, white and blue USO outfits waved at onlookers from the deck. Another sported a penguin theme, with two giant inflatable penguins attached to the mast. Still another had created a palm tree outline in lights. While most were sailboats, several speedboats and one pontoon boat had been decked out for the holidays as well.

In keeping with Christmas Florida style, this sailboat featured a palm tree
Boats were decorated with giant inflatable penguins and snowmen
Even a pontoon boat got into the action
Boats in the marina rocked as Santa arrived on a fast speedboat

At the end of the parade, Santa arrived Florida style, on the Police speedboat. The Chief of Police pulled several doughnuts in the ‘no wake’ main channel of the marina as Santa waved to cheering children lining the shore. His arrival kicked up waves, creating an even more dazzling of Christmas lights as the decorated boats rocked and bobbed at their moorings. Santa stepped off his water-sleigh and walked to a stage set up in Edgewater Park, where he officiated at the town’s tree lighting ceremony.

Dunedin is a lovely little town where children still ride their bicycles after dark without fear and a real sense of community abounds. And the events are not over. Dunedin still has a full calendar of events planned right through Christmas, with the next one being a Holiday parade on Saturday, December 13.

8 thoughts on “A Moving Display Of Holiday Lights In Dunedin, Florida”

  1. Depending on what your favourite things to do are, this place in Florida is a fantastic site, but it is also relatively boring, adventure holidays are on the rise!

  2. Amazing pictures. I loved the last one “boats rocked at Marina” the reflection is amazing. And Dunedin is such a lovely little town.

  3. Amazing photos – looks like Christmas 😉 (just kidding). I am sorry that I never have seen it till now. It is a voyage worth!

  4. Hi Dunedin Accommodations:
    Florida’s Dunedin has a Scottish connection. Their high school band is a bagpipe band that is outfitted in kilts and the town also sponsors an adult bagpipe corps. The community sponsors an annual highland games and several Celtic events. The town was originally settled by Scottish families in 1899. Two Scotsmen, J.O. Douglas and James Sumerville named the settlement Dunedin, the historic name of Edinburgh, their hometown in Scotland. Since there is evidence of settlements in the Edinburgh area beginning in the Bronze Age, I suspect it was the original Dunedin. I’d be interested to know if Dunedin, NZ has Scottish roots. I visited NZ in 2007 and dearly wanted to go to Dunedin, but with only two weeks, I ran out of time.

    Thanks for dropping by, and for your question.

  5. I wonder which was named after Dunedin first, is that the city US city in Florida one or the NZ city ? Ours (New Zealand) date back from 1770. Appreciate your feedback. Thanks.

  6. The Ft Lauderdale boat parade has been tradition for decades, but it’s gotten so big that getting to see it live isn’t for the faint of heart: traffic snarls and hordes of people…unless you know someone with a condo or get a prime seat at a dockside bar (for a price)you can’t see it anyway. I don’t do it any more. I’m wondering if Dunedin’s is what ours used to be like…


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