Home for the Holidays Festival in Daytona Beach Mixed Live Entertainment with a Christmas Boat Parade

It was the day after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct. Sadness was in the air. The children were on everyone’s mind.

The sun rose on December 15th, as it has in the past. It was a new day, filled with promise and excitement, but tainted by the events of the previous day. It was busy in the neighborhood. The Farmers Market was lively. South Beach Street merchants eagerly set up displays on the sidewalk in front of their stores. The Halifax River was calm. The sky was blue with small white clouds. There was a light breeze off the ocean. The morning temperature pushed into the mid-70s, so people were out.

The Downtown Farmers Market was the first stop. My wife found a new favorite vendor serving a healthy salad made with Kale and learned about Midtown EcoVillage, a non- profit grassroots organization, advocating healthy lifestyles, environmental sustainability and community solidarity through education, advocacy, and services.  Founded by Omar Brown and his wife Camille Holder-Brown, the couple is committed to lessening the disparity in food related diseases found in urban Midtown Daytona Beach, and the surrounding areas.

I noticed merchants placing merchandise on tables in front of their stores, and a stage being set up in Riverfront Park, along with chairs and a couple of concession trailers. I wondered what was taking place later in the day.

When I got home, I checked online and discovered today was the Home for the Holidays Festival in downtown Daytona Beach. There would be live entertainment and, when it got dark, the annual Christmas Boat Parade organized by the Halifax River Yacht Club.

I decided to take my camera and see what was happening. While I didn’t see/hear all of the entertainers, I did catch three – an a cappella group from Florida State University (FSU) called All Night Yahtzee, Linda Cole, a dynamic R&B/Gospel singer and Shari Frink, a contemporary vocalist who sings with a number of local bands.

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The music in the park ended at 6 PM. The annual Christmas Boat Parade was scheduled to begin at 6:30 PM.

Between Shair Frink’s performance and the Daytona Christmas Boat Parade, I went home to charge the battery and do a little work.

At 6:15 PM, I grabbed my camera bag and walked downtown. As I approached the viewing area along the Halifax River, I reached in to the camera bag, and realized I left the camera at home. Calculating the speed of the boats and the distance home, I set off to get the camera, resigned to the fact that I would get what I get and not be upset by what I didn’t get.

On the way home, I stopped at the fire station and asked the firefighters who were sitting outside if they knew the route of the boat parade. It turned out, the boats would be passing the judging stand at the adjacent Halifax River Yacht Club. I realized I didn’t have to go back downtown, the boats were coming to me.

I got my camera and headed toward the yacht club. As I approached, I saw the first boats approaching the judging area. They were in a small turning basin that brought them to within 50 yards of an empty boat dock I saw. So, I set up the camera on the dock and watched the boats parade in front of me. I’ll post several short videos, rather than a couple of long ones. Here are the first two:

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