Holiday Boat Parade



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The Annual Gilbert Island Holiday Boat Parade (and Winter Wonderland)

Click on this picture to be directed to the pictures of the 2010 & 2011 Holiday Boat Parades

and Winter Wonderland Pictures

Ok, so the Arizona temperatures are back in double digits and we are thinking of our Holiday Boat Parade..... never too early to start planning for the famous Gilbert Islands Holiday Boat Parade, held on our 3 lakes, in The Islands of Gilbert, AZ. What a better way to think cool, and to appreciate one of the special reasons for living in "The Islands".

For the best ways  to prepare your boat for the parade, and common sense ideas on how to best enjoy the parade, here is the reprint of Steve Gifford's article on getting your boat ready for The Island's parade.

2011 Winter Wonderland and Holiday Boat Parade Schedules

  • The holidays are just around the corner and that means it's time for the Islands Annual Holiday Boat Parade & Winter Wonderland!

    The festivities begin December 10th, at 4:30 pm with hot chocolate, cookies, and Santa at the Community Center Park, near Lake 3. And as an a
    dded bonus, Santa is bringing snow with him to the park for the kids to frolic and have a great time.

    Stop by for a visit with Santa to receive some goodies, play in the snow, and have your picture taken, before heading off to the boat parade, which begins at
    6:00 pm for both Lake 1 and Lake 3.

    Lake III Park and Lake I Fountain, The Islands, Gilbert, AZ

    At 5:30 pm, Santa will be going over to Lake 1, to visit with children there, as well.

    On December 17th, Lake 2 will follow with their boat parade, also beginning at 6:00 pm.

    Don't miss this opportunity for a family fun tradition that is unique to our community.

    Hope to see you there!

Check out this, and our other Islands events on Facebook at the link below:

Check out this, and our other Islands events on facebook at 

Boat Lighting Hints

By careful planning, your boat can look good and complete the entire parade. The first step is making sure that your batteries are fully charged and in good condition. A few months before the parade check the acid level in the batteries. If the acid level is low, then fill each cell of the battery with distilled water until within 0.5 inch of the top. Also, wipe off batteries and keep them clean. Maintain a full charge of the batteries until the parade.

The second step is to install lights on your boat. Typically, a boat will require 400-1000 small lights (120 VAC) to look good. Each light requires 0.5 Watt of power, and a typical boat will required 200-500 Watts. At the dock, the lights can be plugged into a 120 VAC receptacle, but during the parade an alternate 120 VAC power source is required. A popular method for heavily decorated boats is the use of a 120 VAC generator rated at 1KW that runs off regular gasoline, which can be rented or purchased. One drawback is the loud noise created from the internal combustion engine. The inexpensive generators tend to be loud. A recommended generator is the Honda 1000 which is quieter than most, and costs approximately $600.

Another method is to use a power inverter that converts battery power (12VDC) to 120 VAC. The rating on the power inverter should be 300-700 Watts for suitable illumination, and should produce the modified sine-wave output or better. Note, manufacturers tend to over-rate the capacity, i.e. a 400 watt inverter is good for 300 watts continuous. The power inverter requires substantial battery power. For example, to illuminate 400 Watts of lights the battery current draw is approximately 40 amps. This current draw can deplete a fully charged battery in less than 1 or 2 hours. Thus, you may want to power the lights with an auxiliary battery
that is independent of the normal boat batteries.

Once you have the batteries and lights all setup, it's time to test the system with a wet run. Take the boat out a couple of weekends before the parade. Run the power as you plan to do during the parade for approximately 15 minutes. Make sure you don't deplete the batteries too much for this test. If you do, recharging the batteries make take a couple of weeks. Check to make sure that the boat is operating properly and check the wiring of the boat and the lighting power system for overheating by touching the wiring at critical locations quickly. Check connectors, terminal lugs, splices, fuses, switches for heating problems. If you have a problem with overheated terminals, you may want to re-terminate and solder to get a secure connection. When you get back to the dock make sure you plug in the battery charger. Careful planning and testing will ensure that you and your boat guests have the maximum amount of fun during the holiday parade.

Start your Jingle-Bells!


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Last modified: May 29, 2012