For Christmas 2000 the EYC Foundation decided to organize a party for local kids to view the annual Eastport Yacht Club Parade of Lights. Because the parade is so popular we had trouble finding a comfortable place for 85 kids and parents to watch the parade on a cold December evening until we were rescued by the United States Navy!
The U.S. Naval Academy graciously offered us the use of the Crown Sailing Center for the party. With it's majestic view down the Severn to the Chesapeake, it proved to be an ideal location for a kids party. We covered one of the outdoor decks with a tent and heater so folks could stand outdoors to hear the music and feel the excitement or stay indoors to watch in comfort.
We hosted some 85 children from the Stanton Center and Salvation Army programs along with their parents for an evening of food provided by the Eastport Yacht Club and music provided by the Naval Academy Midshipmen Brass Quintet.
The first highlight of the evening was the arrival of Santa Claus, who was delivered to the seawall by the Annapolis Fire Department`s fire boat, accompanied by sirens, flashing lights, and water cannons! As an escort for Santa, Pete and Jane Chambliss followed in Dreamchaser, fully lit up with their rendition of the angel Gabriel. Santa brought with him a full sack of toys, provided by Millennium Digital Media, for every child at the party.
The next highlight was, of course, the parade of lighted boats that circled the harbor for two hours. Surprisingly, this was the first time most of the kids and adults at the party had seen the parade, even though most have lived in Annapolis their whole lives. Special thanks go out to the many boat captains who went out of their way to give the kids a spectacular view of their lighted boats.
Unfortunately, the events of September 11 caused the Navy to drastically increase security precautions at the Academy so we have not had access to the Crown Center since Christmas 2000. We are actively looking for a new venue so we can restart what could be a great holiday tradition in Annapolis.