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Alexandria Illuminated Boat Parade Along with Fireworks Show from DC Wharf Same Night

2017 Winner for Most Holiday Cheer at Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights (Photo by E Michio for Visit Alexandria)

Two Waterfront Destinations, Two Celebrations, Saturday, December 1, 2018

Washington, D.C.—Spectators on both sides of the Potomac River will gather to enjoy a beloved holiday tradition on Saturday, December 1, 2018. The Wharf in Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, present parades of illuminated boats back-to-back on the same evening, along with dockside festivities to celebrate the season. The Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights begins at 5:30 p.m. in Old Town with activities at the Alexandria City Marina from 2 to 8 p.m. On Washington, D.C.’s waterfront, The District’s Holiday Boat Parade kicks off at The Wharf at 7 p.m. led by the DC Fireboat John Glenn. The Wharf will present a stunning fireworks salute to the holiday parade at approximately 8 p.m. The Wharf’s landside festivities take place from 6 to 9 p.m. all along the new waterfront neighborhood.

Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, Alexandria, VA (Photo by R Kennedy for Visit Alexandria)

At 5:30 p.m. on the day of the iconic Scottish Christmas Walk Parade, Alexandria’s harbor shines as dozens of brightly lit boats cruise the Potomac River at the historic waterfront for the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights, which was named a Top 10 Best Holiday Parade by the USA Today 10 Best Readers’ Choice Awards in 2017. Tommy McFly of and NBC4 will serve as the parade announcer. Enjoy festivities at the Alexandria City Marina from 4 to 8 p.m., including a pop-up beer garden from Port City Brewing Company featuring their popular seasonal Tidings Ale, a pop-up Vola’s Dockside Grill,and giveaways from Lyft, which is also offering 20% off your ride to the Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights with the code HOLIDAYPARADE18!. Take part in a Letters to Santa postcard pop-up from paper goods boutique Penny Post, a DIY holiday wood ornament craft activity from AR Workshop Alexandria and a hot chocolate bar from Dolci Gelati. Parade-goers are invited to step into the Torpedo Factory Art Center, located at the Alexandria City Marina, for their annual holiday festivities from 2 to 8 p.m.

The Wharf presents The District’s Holiday Boat Parade, a magical night of boating on the Potomac River, from Hains Point to the docks and piers of The Wharf. This is the 27th year of this annual waterfront holiday tradition. Free public activities will be held from 6 to 9 p.m., including the lighting of The Wharf’s 40-foot tall Christmas tree; photographs with Santa Claus and the lively music of GO GO Gadget performing on District pier. The boat parade will kick off at 7 p.m. and highlighted by a stunning holiday fireworks parade finale at 8 p.m. The festive holiday boat parade will include up to 60 beautifully decorated boats. Doug Kammerer, chief meteorologist at NBC4 will serve as the parade’s Master of Ceremonies and invite attendees to get into the holiday spirit with the guaranteed first DC snowfall of the season.  Crafting miniature holiday boats, painting signature holiday ornaments, sipping hot cocoa and making s’mores at The Wharf’s roaring fire pit will fill the waterfront with festivities for the season. Other fun activities include a signature performance by Go Go Gadjet on District Pier, decorating gingerbread cookies, skating on the Wharf Ice Rink and sampling seasonal refreshments at The Wharf’s Waterfront Winter Beer & Wine Garden.


December 1, 2018
Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights

Parade begins at 5:30 p.m.; Festivities at the marina from 2 to 8 p.m.
Alexandria City Marina, 0 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA, 22314

Parade viewing areas: Founders Park (351 North Union Street), Alexandria City Marina (0 Cameron Street), Waterfront Park (1A Prince Street), Shipyard/Harborside Park (1 Wilkes Street), and Ford’s Landing Park (99 Franklin Street)
Admission: Free

Schedule at the Alexandria City Marina
2 to 8 p.m.: Festivities inside the Torpedo Factory Art Center
4 to 8 p.m.: Pop-up Beer Garden from Port City Brewing Company featuring Tidings Ale
4 to 8 p.m.: Pop-up Vola’s Dockside Grill
4 to 7 p.m.: Lyft giveaways
4 to 7 p.m.: Penny Post Letters to Santa Postcard Pop-up
4 to 7 p.m.: AR Workshop Alexandria DIY Holiday Wood Ornament Craft Activity
4 to 7 p.m.: Dolci Gelati Hot Chocolate Bar

5:30 p.m.: Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights begins  

December 1, 2018
The District’s Holiday Boat Parade

Parade begins at 7 p.m.; Landside festivities from 6 to 9 p.m.
Activities take place throughout The Wharf neighborhood along Wharf Street, District Pier and Transit Pier, Washington, DC 20024
Admission: Free

Schedule at The Wharf
6 to 9 p.m.: Landside activities throughout The Wharf including gingerbread cookie decorating, photographs with Santa Claus, s’more making, holiday boat crafting and more
7 p.m.: Boat Parade begins
8 p.m.: Parade Fireworks Finale
6 to 9 p.m.: Celebrate the holidays with Go Go Gadjet
8 to 10 p.m.: The District’s Holiday Boat Parade Private Captain’s After Party

The Wharf opened Phase 1 of the new neighborhood in 2017. Developed by Hoffman-Madison Waterfront, The Wharf is a $2.5 billion, world-class, mixed-use waterfront development centrally located on the Potomac River, along the historic Washington Channel. Situated along the District of Columbia’s Southwest Waterfront and adjacent to the National Mall, The Wharf stretches across nearly one mile of waterfront on 24 acres of land and more than 50 acres of water from the Municipal Fish Market to Fort McNair. When complete, it will feature more than three million square feet of residential, office, hotel, retail, cultural, and public uses including waterfront parks, promenades, piers and docks.

Download the District Wharf app for a live news feed, information on events, interactive map, transportation updates and more. The app is available on Apple and Android devices. More information is available at

Located just minutes from Washington, D.C., Alexandria was named one of “America’s Top Holiday Towns” by USA Today. Visitors can feel transported by an old-fashioned sense of holiday wonder on Old Town Alexandria’s centuries-old brick-lined streets, twinkling with holiday traditions and magical events. Bask in the warmth of time-honored festivities like the Campagna Center’s 48th Annual Scottish Christmas Walk Weekend, featuring a parade of Scottish clans and Scottie dogs, as well as the 19th Annual Alexandria Holiday Boat Parade of Lights on the Potomac River. Dozens of independent boutiques welcome you with greenery at their doorsteps, offering everything from chic fashions and home décor to classic toys and gifts for dogs. Duck into cozy cafés and chef-driven restaurants tucked into 18th-century buildings to warm up with loved ones and good cheer. Under a canopy of sparkling lights, a stroll on historic King Street is like being in a real-life Dickens Village, complete with European flair. Alexandria offers an authentic holiday experience—the way it was meant to be. For more information, visit

Mary Wadland

Mary Wadland is the Publisher and Editor in Chief of The Zebra Press, founded by her in 2010. Originally from Delray Beach, Florida, Mary is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Hollins College in Roanoke, VA and has lived and worked in the Alexandria publishing community since 1987.

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