2013 marked the 59th anniversary of Portland's Christmas Ships Parade. We had 59 ships registered for this year's event, of which seven of those were new skippers, and at least eight were skippers that have been participating for more than 20 consecutive years. We had ships over 50' long, and ships that pushed 18' in length with all the enthusiasm of full size cruise ships. We did not lack for diversity in our fleet, nor for the true can-do spirit that makes this the most amazing Christmas Ships parade in all of the world.
The weather dealt us a mixed bag. We had great weather for our Camas/Washougal run, then were greeted with a cold icy blast as we gathered to start our run further down the Columbia. The combination of the windy and icy conditions resulted in a decision to cancel the combined fleet run down North Portland Harbor on December 6th. It was the right call, for the safety of the fleet, though we know we disappointed many of those who anxiously await the start of this grand tradition. The next night saw many of the combined fleet head to St. Helen's, Oregon – in 14 degree weather – and give those folks an amazing show. This was clearly a testament to the intrepid skippers of the fleet, and to its amazing fans. This isn't the Midwest, and to brave such conditions here in the Northwest is nothing short of awesome. We have the greatest fans that anyone could ask for – you guys Rock!
The increased contact we saw through the web page here, as well as through our Facebook page, further cemented the incredible interest shown for this event. Christmas Ships Parade fans not only show up to visit us in all sorts of weather, but they're actively involved in communicating with the leadership, sharing pictures and videos, making donations, and offering suggestions on how we can better serve our fans. You support is invaluable, and we thank you for all you do for us.
While we take some days off to rest and recuperate, to spend the holiday season with our families, and to reflect on the event we just finished, we will soon gather again to begin planning for the 60th anniversary of Portland's Christmas Ships Parade to take place in 2014. Already, the board has been working on the schedule for 2014 and will soon publish that here on this website.
We, at Christmas Ships, Inc. wish you and your family the most joyous of holiday seasons. May the New Year hold all the best for you and yours.