Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Cancelled | San Diego Bay Parade of Lights: The Twelve Days of Christmas

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases, this year's San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is cancelled.

UPDATE Nov. 20, 2020 – The organizers have cancelled this year’s San Diego Bay Parade of Lights due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases. The official announcement is below:

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights today announced the 2020 parade has been cancelled due to restrictions related to Covid-19.

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“Our number one priority is safety and this year large crowds associated with the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights are not advisable due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Parade Chairman Larry Baumann. “We know how much our residents and visitors love the parade and this was a very difficult decision. But in consulting with Port, City, County and State experts, cancelling the parade was the right decision.”

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights brings more than 100,000 San Diego residents and visitors together on the San Diego Bay waterfront each year. The procession of about 80 lavishly decorated boats has become one of our region’s most iconic holiday events and has been voted as one of the top holiday parades in the country for the last three years, as reported by USA Today.

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The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights board and committee expect the event to return for the holidays in 2021.

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will mark the 49th anniversary of the beloved San Diego tradition with the 2020 holiday boat parade, themed “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

“Inspired by the popular Christmas carol, this year’s theme calls for participants to think outside the box and decorate their boats in a festive, creative way,” said Parade Chairman Larry Baumann. “We encourage San Diegans and visitors to watch the lineup of boats decked out in vibrant lights and holiday decor at this one-of-a kind celebration this holiday season.”

The dates for this year’s parade are December 13 and 20, 2020.

The procession of about 80 lavishly decorated boats has become one of our region’s most iconic holiday events. Due to COVID-19, spectators are asked to use safe viewing practices, stay at least 6 feet apart from others and maintain social distance.

The parade route starts at Shelter Island and travels west past Harbor Island, then south along the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, and Cesar Chavez Park before turning parallel with the Coronado Bridge to the west side of the bay. The parade then proceeds past the Coronado Ferry Landing to the finish line. It takes about two hours to complete the procession and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route.

A variety of prizes and awards are presented to the best decorated boats and those that best capture the parade’s theme. All participants will receive a participant plaque and are invited to the awards ceremony.

Viewing areas span across multiple areas of the San Diego Bay. Prepare for traffic and parking ahead of time. Please report any suspicious activity to the Harbor Police. The possession of open alcoholic beverages is prohibited along the parade viewing area. Drones and other unmanned aircraft systems are also prohibited.

For more information and parade details, visit

Editor’s Note: This article was update on November 20, 2020 with cancellation information.

holiday parade of lights boat
Image: San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

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Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is thrilled to call Coronado home and raise her two children here. In her free time enjoys hitting the gym, reading, and walking her dog around the “island.” Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to:
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