24th Annual Parade of Lights

The Wharf
690 Water St. SW
Washington, D.C. 20024

Join us at The Wharf for a magical night of merriment on the Potomac River. Now in its 24th year, the annual Parade of Lights kicks off at the docks of Old Town Alexandria and concludes at the District’s Southwest waterfront.


  • Register at dcboatparade.eventbrite.com.
  • All registration ends Friday, Nov. 20.
  • Parade participation is limited to 60 boats.
  • Virginia and D.C. prizes will be distributed at the after party.
  • Separate registration for D.C.’s in-slip participants.

Parade schedule:

  • Alexandria land activities begin at 5 p.m.
  • Alexandria parade staging begins at 5 p.m.
  • Parade begins in Alexandria at 5:30 p.m.
  • Parade sails across the Potomac River to D.C. at 6 p.m.
  • D.C. land activities begin at 6 p.m.
  • Parade begins in the Washington Channel at 7 p.m.
  • Parade boat docking in D.C. begins at 7:30 p.m.
  • Private captain and crew after party begins at 8 p.m.

Alexandria parade prizes (limited to pre-registered boaters):

  • Best in show: $500 cash
  • Best powerboat: $250 cash
  • Best sailboat: $250 cash
  • More than $1,500 in other prizes to be announced

D.C. parade prizes (limited to pre-registered boaters):

  • Best in parade: $500 cash and trophy
  • 1st place: $400 cash
  • 2nd place: $300 cash
  • 3rd place: $200 cash
  • Honorable achievement: $100 cash

D.C. treasure chest:

Each pre-registered parade boat that enters the Washington Channel for judging from the Southwest waterfront will receive a Commemorative Parade of Lighted Boats Captain’s Bag (distributed at the after oarty) with:

  • A captain’s $100 thank you gift for all boaters who crossed the Potomac from Alexandria to D.C.
  • Commemorative 2015 long-sleeve Parade of Lights t-shirts for pre-registered captain and crew (Captain and up to 8 additional crew)

Captain’s coordination meeting:

Old Dominion Boat Club will host the mandatory Captain’s meeting on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. for all pre-registered vessels. Meeting will include hors d’oeuvres and hosted bar.

Captain’s after party in D.C.:

Private captain’s after party begins at 8 p.m. at The Wharf offices at 650 Water St. SW. After party limited to captain and up to seven additional pre-registered crew per vessel (eight total). Private after party will feature live music, hot hors d’oeuvres, cash bar, parade awards and prize distribution. The captain’s after party is a ticketed event. Tickets will be distributed by Eventbrite through the registration system. No exceptions will be made to non-registered boats.

Alexandria landside free public events from 5 to 6 p.m.:

  • Festivities to ring in the holiday season
  • Special showcase entertainment
  • Photos with Santa for children and canines
  • Live holiday music and much more

D.C. landside free public events from 6 to 8 p.m.:

  • Guaranteed first snow fall of the holidays
  • Family photos with Santa
  • Gingerbread cookie decorating
  • Lighting of the Christmas tree
  • Live holiday music
  • Roaring s’mores bonfire
  • Hot chocolate to toast the season
  • Holiday lighting of the boats docked at Southwest

D.C. prizes for lighted boats docked at the Southwest waterfront:

  • Best in slip: $250 cash
  • 1st place: $150 cash
  • 2nd place: $100 cash
  • 3rd place: $50 cash

Prizes are limited to pre-registered slip holders. Pre-registration and boat decorating includes two tickets to the after party. In-slip, D.C., lighted boat prizes will be distributed at captain’s after party. Party is a ticketed event, distributed by EventBrite through the registration system-no exceptions will be made to boats that are not registered.

The Parade of Lighted Boats is co-produced by Washington Waterfront Association and Old Dominion Boat Club, presented by Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, developers of the new, world-class, mixed-use waterfront, The Wharf and Alexandria Convention & Visitors Association
through the generosity of: Alexandria Fire Department, Cantina Marina, Capital Yacht Club, Destination DC, District of Columbia Fire Department, Entertainment Cruises, EventBrite, Gangplank Marina, Gangplank Slipholders Association, MPD Harbor Patrol, PhotoGenics, Port of Washington Yacht Club, RedPeg and Visit Alexandria, VA.

Event submitted by The Wharf

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