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PYC brings the holiday to local waterways

POULSBO — When he’s not being pulled by eight tiny reindeer, apparently Santa sometimes arrives by boat.

At least that will be the story as the 34th annual Poulsbo Yacht Club Lighted Ships Parade once again graces the shores of Little Norway and surrounding areas Dec. 12-13. The event is usually held in early December and kicks off the holiday season for many local families.

“The public gets into it, I think, just as much as we do,” said event organizer Claus Christensen.

The parade usually draws between 25 and 30 boats, both PYC members and non-members, and is led by a special unlighted Rudolph boat and a Santa boat. This year’s Rudolph boat will be Bob and Pat Johnson’s Schottische IV, while Santa Claus himself will (appropriately enough) be the guest rider on Christensen’s Happy Days.

“That’s just a coincidence,” said Christensen with a laugh about having a similar name to the man in red.

The Dec. 12 leg of the parade runs from 7:15-9 p.m. Beginning from the Poulsbo Yacht Club, boats will head north, traveling past Fjord Drive, the Port of Poulsbo Marina and Waterfront Park before turning south at the Lindvig Bridge. The southbound journey along the west side of Liberty Bay will take boats past Scandia and Keyport. At Bolin Point, the caravan will head back toward Poulsbo past Ne-Si-Ka Bay and Lemolo and return to the yacht club. The club suggests the best place to view the Friday’s parade is Waterfront Park.

The Dec. 13 route is set for 6-8:45 p.m. Beginning from the west side of Manzanita Bay across from Point Bolin, the ships will travel past Seabold, Agate Pass, Port Madison and Fay Bainbridge before heading for the east side of the bay. On the southbound leg, vessels will tour past Suquamish, through Agate Pass again and finish at Point Bolin.

Along each night’s parade route, Santa’s boat will be playing Christmas tunes and St. Nick himself will be giving personal greetings to youngsters along the route via a loudspeaker. Anyone can request a message for their children.

Usually about 50 and 75 families take advantage of the service each year.

“We usually have a lot of homes with the children out in the yard waiting for Santa and he waves and says hello to them and they flash their lights to let him know they got his message,” Christensen said. “We always hope we get the right house. Sometimes it’s hard to tell in the dark.”

To request a personal greeting from Santa, send a card or letter with your name, telephone number, address and a specific location where you will be watching from (marking the accompanying map with an X is suitable) to: Christmas Ships, Poulsbo Yacht Club, 18129 Fjord Dr. NE, Suite T, Poulsbo, WA 98370. Letters must be received by Dec. 8.

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