Christmas Ship owners are getting ready to set sail for their 58th year as residents make plans to watch the colorful flotillas during the parade's 2012 holiday season.
The Christmas Ship Parade will open Saturday December 1st in Camas-Washougal, Washington. The Christmas Ships will start in the Portland-Vancouver area Friday December 7th running for 14 nights through Friday December 21st.
The two fleets will join for North Portland Harbor on the 7th, St. Helens and Columbia City Saturday December 8th, and from Scappoose to North Portland through Multnomah Channel along Highway 30 on the 9th. The next weekend the two fleets will be travel to Lake Oswego Saturday night December 15, with a performance together the following night in St. Johns.
Many restaurants and hotels along the Columbia and Willamette rivers are already taking reservations with nights already booked for some evenings.
The boats, 14 to 65 feet long, are brightly decorated for the holiday season. The ships draw thousands of residents each night to the banks of the rivers for the performances. Up to 60 holiday boats are expected to make up the two fleets.
The privately owned vessels come from Portland, Vancouver, McMinnville, Salem and Hood River areas. Some of the ships owners have been part of Christmas tradition for more than 30 years with many being part of the fleets for over 20 years. Each skipper is responsible for their own expenses including fuel and insurance for their vessels over the two weeks. The organization accepts donations to help cover the cost of an event insurance policy for the group along with administrative costs for the year.
A full schedule for the Columbia and Willamette fleets, as well as a link for donations can be found at www.christmasships.org. For Skipper interviews or other requests send a note to