Chamber cancels Lighted Boat Parade, Sheriff commits boats anyway

UPDATE: Parker Live has it on good authority that Santa will be out on his waverunner on Christmas Eve from around 10 am until around 2 pm, visiting riverfront communities. Look out for him!

The Parker Regional Chamber of Commerce & Tourism has cancelled the annual Lighted Boat Parade along the Parker Strip, which usually takes place on Thanksgiving weekend.

“We’ve had no signups so far this year,” said Mary Hamilton, the Chamber’s Director. “We’ve been struggling with this event for some time and this year we’ve decided to cancel it.”

Hamilton told KLPZ 1380am that the parade took financial resources and personnel to run, with fewer entries and less participation in recent years than ever.

“It’s not that we don’t want to do it, we love the Lighted Boat Parade,” she said. “It kicks off the holiday season, and it’s a long-time tradition, a lot of us that are full-time here and even second home owners, this is it, this is one of the ways we kick off the holiday season. But we can’t make it happen this year.”

La Paz County Sheriff Bill Risen called the show live during the segment Wednesday morning, saying that he had talked to his staff and to Buckskin Fire Department, and that they had decided to have their boats on the water on that night in lieu of the formal event.

“We want to make sure it keeps going,” Risen told Parker Live. “My staff told me they’d talked to Buckskin Fire Department and they had agreed to put their boat out. We’ll ask San Bernardino, and some of the clubs, and I expect some of my employees may want to put their boats in the water too.”

It is unclear whether the formal event – which requires insurance, sponsorships and other prerequisites – will continue in any form, or whether it will remain only as a casual gathering on a public waterway with the Sheriff’s Department, Buckskin Fire and others coming together informally to give spectators something to watch.

Sheriff Risen said they wanted to put their boats on the water that night because it will carry on a long tradition in Parker.

“And the nice part is remember, our boats already have lights – red and blue.”


  1. Kortny Taylor Miskofski

    Say it isn’t so ???? Valerie Von Sprecken Taylor Quintin Taylor

  2. Valerie Von Sprecken Taylor

    I am sure there will be the normal 3 boats anyways

  3. Kortny Taylor Miskofski

    Read the article there will probably be police and fire department and some employees. Our family needs to start signing up that’s like 10 boats right there lol

  4. Kimberly Rowland

    Thank you so much to all of those who are going to put it on! ????????????‍????????‍✈️????

  5. Brian Gwin

    Bummer, but attendance has sucked in recent years . Good call.

  6. Quintin Taylor

    OK River rats let’s get the boat out there like we used to get to work and decorate your own boat no organizer need it just do it

  7. Diane Wolfe

    Why be so negative you see so many boats in the summer an o know we all know someone who owns a boats so why not just spread the word to the ones that do an if you don’t have a boat reach out to someone that does an help them we are a boating community so let’s do this js

  8. Sutliff Mark

    River rats get them decorated and on the water! I remember watching it as a kid. Don’t let another tradition die.

  9. Maggie McNamara

    We are putting our boat in!! Is it Friday or Saturday night?? We want to see Santa!!!

  10. Lindsey Allred

    Well, that’s super disappointing.

  11. Jon T Schuler

    If they started up river and ended at the casino like they used to, we might start doing again. It’s not much of a parade when you get judged and go home.

  12. Neal Casner

    hate is such a strong word.

  13. Annette Merritt

    Kudos to La Paz Co for keeping the spirit alive…

  14. My husband and I did the Lighted Boat Parade for years. We used to start at River Island and travel the whole length of the river and finish at Blue Water. Then your boat was judged, or judged along the way. It’s not about the prize. But since it was changed to start at the Casino, participants were entering to win and then go home, they wouldn’t travel up river, or they would fall out along the way. The Boats can’t really be appreciated docked, they need to be out on the water to get the full effect.

    Besides it’s not about the prize, it’s about the RIDE and pleasing all the La Paz County residents and our visitors that look forward to the event every year. You should not only be judged on your boat, but the spirit, participation and traveling the length of the parade.

    It is very disappointing when you know 20 boats entered and only 5 make it up river.

    I would do the parade in the future if the route could be changed.

  15. Aldean Scott

    Hmmmm well whats another year without seeing a lighted boat …i will go to the lighted parade in Decembet then does anyone know when that one is?

  16. Kelli Kourkos

    What I was looking forward to that bummer 🙁

  17. Sarah Miller

    Next year we’ll have to enter our boat. If I would’ve known about it sooner, we would have!

  18. Kelli Kourkos

    They still have Santa right or did they cancel him too

  19. Melinda Stover

    So sorry Mary,I have been there for that special event. Maybe when the world gets back to how it should be…it will happen again. We here in Ca want to come watch it again. And by the way Thank you Mary Hamilton for your ongoing Chamber service.

  20. B.j. Madewell

    Just my opinion, but I think the town of Parker or Chamber could come up with better ideas to advertise events like this in Parker. Maybe with more publicity, there would be more people interested in entering their boats. Parker has alot of fun events that take place here but it seems like the only advertisement is a banner on the corner of the park. I have lived and worked here for 5 years and so many weekends pass when I say, “oh I didn’t know that was happening”. Many of these long time events are only solicited to the same people who have been participating for previous years. Maybe with more solicitation in the community, it could continue?

  21. Helen Wegener Ward

    Anyone know what time and what direction they are going? I will be watching from our shoreline. So happy as this starts me in the holiday mood. Thank you to everyone who participates. Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas!

  22. This event has happened the Saturday after Thanksgiving for years. We have been on our dock for over 20 years watching as all the boats would pass and Buckskin Fire Department would pull in with Santa and Sparky. We look forward to this event every year and will be watching for them this year. This year Chamber told me there will be a PWC with Santa riding around handing out candy. My family is looking forward that Saturday evening.

  23. Liz Gosliga

    Way to go Sheriff and Fire Dept.!!!!!! ????????????

  24. Todd Leaverton

    Do it on a different weekend

  25. Santa has done that Christmas Eve for many years on his Jetski. I think he loves Parker, and enjoys doing it before the big delivery that night! If the rumors are true, he should be out from 10 am – 2 pm on December 24th… I enjoy it every year!

  26. I think much more advertising online with all appropriate information, and an easy electronic registration would help every year. I’m just sorry the kids won’t get to visit and get photos with Santa! He always seemed to be having fun!

  27. Parker Live staff…Thanks for paying attention to the post, and for helping to get the word out about the Christmas Eve jetski Santa. I’m sure the notice and hours will be appreciated by all of Santa’s fans!

  28. Stephanie McCausland

    Austin will be so sad that Santa won’t be visiting

  29. John D. Croteau

    Santa won’t be at the Cantina either. He’ll be on his boat, going around the river.

  30. Thank You to our wonderful Sheriff and Fire Departments! Not only keeping us all safe, but keeping a great tradition going! We appreciate you and your efforts and loved the parade last night and the visit from Santa!

  31. Alicia Wilson-Croteau

    UPDATE: Shout out today to the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department and the Buckskin Fire Departmen!!! The (unsponsored) Annual Lighted Boat Parade last night had about 17 boats participate. From the sound on shore when the boats went by community support was great. I heard a lot of clapping, cheers, and honking, and saw a lot of you monitoring the progress as they traveled. Great thanks to all of you who participated, and who donated a new unwrapped toy to the La Paz County Sheriff’s Department Toy Drive It was a wonderful start to out holiday season in Parker! Mrs. Claus

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