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Holiday boat parade returns to Long Island village following hiatus

The annual Patchogue Christmas Holiday Boat Parade is

The annual Patchogue Christmas Holiday Boat Parade is returning in 2021. Credit: Daniel Brennan

Patchogue's Christmas Holiday Boat Parade — which brings a procession of boats gussied up in holiday lighting past cheering spectators — returns this year following a pandemic pause.

"For almost 27 years, this event has served as the official kickoff to the holiday season in Patchogue," says David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce. "While COVID crowd restrictions made this event impossible last year, this year, it’s back bigger and better than ever."

This year's event is a two-day celebration that kicks off on Nov. 20, where all can come to the riverside restaurant Off Key Tikki (31 Baker Place, 631-475-1723, offkeytikki.com) from 5 to 9 p.m. to see the boats slated to appear in the parade prep for their debuts. Guests can tour the marina, check out the decorated boats up close and vote for their favorite; the craft that gets the most votes will win "The People’s Choice Award." The parade takes off Nov. 21.

"It’s a celebration of the holiday season, a great family event, the last opportunity for boaters to get their boats out, and an event that supports the restaurants on the river in our off season," explains Mike Bruemmer, owner of Off Key Tikki. Bruemmer adds that on the night of the parade, his venue will be offering a Thanksgiving dinner-inspired buffet while featuring live music and holiday movies on the 30-foot outdoor screen located in the courtyard of Off Key, which also hosts a sandy beach and a wood-burning firepit.

Other riverside restaurants have also announced special doings during the parade, such as Harbor Crab Co. (116 Division St.; 631-687-2722, harborcrab.com), which has also scheduled a holiday movie showing and an appearance from Santa, who will be available for photos. Kennedy says to expect food and drink specials at all the riverside restaurants during the event, and that reservations are strongly recommended for anyone looking to watch the boats from one of the water-adjacent eateries.

For those just looking to get a good glance, the boats will enter the Patchogue River from the Great South Bay starting at 6 p.m., and then travel the length of the river’s navigable portion. Two public viewing areas will be set up for the show: at the Sandspit Marina (116 Brightwood St.) and at the Patchogue-Watch Hill ferry terminal (150 West Ave.); DJs will be on-hand to spin holiday music and vendors will be selling food, hot beverages and crafts at both locations.

For more info on both the parade and the preview night, visit patchogueboatparade.org.

Patchogue Christmas Holiday Boat Parade

WHEN | WHERE Nov. 21 parade at 6 p.m.; Sandspit Marina (116 Brightwood St.) and at the Patchogue-Watch Hill ferry terminal (150 West Ave.); patchogueboatparade.org.

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