San Diego Bay Parade of Lights Celebrates the San Diego Zoo Centennial on the Bayfront December 11 and 18



October 19, 2016

SAN DIEGO, CA — Continuing its long-standing San Diego tradition, the 45th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights promises to dazzle and entertain bay front crowds during the evenings of December 11 and 18, 2016. Participants in this year’s highly anticipated holiday boat parade will decorate their boats to fit this year’s theme, “It Began with a Roar – San Diego Zoo Celebrates 100 Years.”

Presented by the Port of San Diego, the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights brings more than 100,000 San Diego residents and visitors to the shores of San Diego Bay each year. The procession of approximately 80 lavishly decorated boats has become one of the most iconic events in the region.

This year, for the first time, the parade will proceed to Cesar Chavez Park before making the turn to Coronado, giving spectators another area to view the parade. Beginning at 5 p.m. each night, the parade starts at Shelter Island and proceeds to Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village, the Pier at Cesar Chavez Park, and ends at the Ferry Landing in Coronado. The parade takes about an hour to pass any given point and there are many comfortable waterfront viewpoints along the route. A map of the route is available on the San Diego Bay Parade of Light’s website. Due to increased traffic and parking demand, observers are encouraged to plan ahead or take the trolley.

For added insight into the participating boats, viewers can watch the parade from near the announcers’ areas. Announcers will be located at the Maritime Museum on the Embarcadero and at Coronado Landing. As each boat passes these viewing points, the announcers offer a brief history and description of the participating vessels.

Awards are presented to the best decorated boats and those that truly capture the event’s theme. All participants receive a participant plaque and are invited to the awards dinner, held Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse, where a wide variety of prizes will be raffled off.

This year’s grand prize is:

  • A luxury cruise package for two with  Star Clippers, whose fleet includes three of the largest full-rigged sailing ships in the world – each with all of the amenities of a private mega-yacht.

The “Best in Theme” award is paired with below prize:

  • A seven-night exploration for two to either Mexico’s Sea of Cortez or Costa Rica and Panama with UnCruise Adventures. In honor of this year’s theme, UnCruise Adventures is offering the “Safari Endeavor” and the “Safari Voyager” as the vessels the winner will get to choose from. The winners will enjoy small ship exploration, with lots of soft adventure.

Everyone who participates in both nights of the parade and passes both sets of judges will be eligible to win the above prizes.

Boat owners interested in participating in this year’s San Diego Bay Parade of Lights are strongly urged to submit the registration form and the $50 entry fee online at If participants cannot submit the entry form and payment online, registration forms can be downloaded and submitted to the Bali Hai Restaurant at 2230 Shelter Island Drive. The fee covers both evenings, and watercrafts of all sizes are encouraged to participate. For more information, call 619-224-2240 or email

If interested in sponsoring the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, please contact Joni Geis at 619-823-5220 or via email at, or Kat Ohlmann at 858-488-4091 or via email at

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights

The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is a time-honored tradition brought to the San Diego Bay by the boating community. Each year, more than 80 lavishly decorated boats proceed around the San Diego Bay on two consecutive Sundays in December. For more information, please visit

San Diego Zoo Global

Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes on-site wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.


Gail Strickland