City preps for annual Jacksonville Light Boat Parade

Decades-old tradition set to continue Saturday despite pandemic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Despite the pandemic, a Jacksonville tradition will take center stage this weekend on the St. Johns River.

The Jacksonville Light Boat Parade will set sail Saturday evening and will be followed by what some say is the best fireworks show in the city.

The parade, a tradition for over 30 years, begins at 6 p.m. Saturday when a fleet of boats decorated and lit up with holiday light cruise down the St. Johns River.

Thousands of people are expected to gather along the riverfront to watch as the boats parade by. The parade travels from the Main Street bridge, under the Acosta Bridge and then a bit further.

There are ample viewing spots along the river, and city officials are encouraging those who come out to do so safely and spread out from other parties to allow for social distancing.

Temporary bleachers have been erected at the site of the old Jacksonville Landing, and the Southbank Riverwalk across the river is also expected to be crowded with spectators.

The fireworks are set for around 8 p.m., as soon as the parade ends. The show includes a fireworks waterfall cascading off the Acosta and Main Street bridges.

The event isn’t just for the spectators -- the boat owners are eligible for prizes based on their lighting schemes.

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