The Villa Park Dry Land Boat Parade will held be on Sunday, December 15, 2019. The parade will start at 5:00 PM and follow a route to the Villa Park Town Center. Activities at the VP Town Center will conclude at 9:00 PM. The theme of this year’s event will be “Jingle Bell Rock”.
Download the PDF Parade Map and Route.
Dry Land Boat Parade Details
- Registration forms are available at the VP City Hall
- The parade map can also be found at the VPCSF website.
Villa Park Holiday Event Schedule
- Adopt-a-Marine Thanksgiving: Thursday, November 28, 2019
- Santa Tour on a Fire Truck: Saturday, December 7, 2019
- Winter Wonderland: Saturday, December 7, 2019
- Dry Land Boat Parade: Sunday, December 15, 2019
2019 Grand Marshal
- Best Youth Yacht: VPHS Boys Basketball
- Best Holiday Spirit: Mike Logan
- Best Use of Lights: “Pet Nanny” Doug Martin
- Most Original: Paul Garcia
- Best Overall: Victor Espinosa
The dry land boat parade is an asphalt harbor tour where 50 + vessels travel through Villa Park. Along the way there are neighborhood parties and kids lined up eagerly waiting for candy to be tossed overboard. There is a grand marshall each year and even quirky annual themes like Yachts and Yachts of Holiday Fun.
The parade ultimately ends up docking at the Villa Park Towne Centre where a large crowd awaits including the VPHS marching band. At the Towne Centre there are tree lighting and awards ceremonies with trophies for categories such as best overall, most artistic or most whimsical. Food booths are on hand as well as retail vendors with items for sale. It all goes to a good cause though as the retail vendors donate a percentage of sales to the VPCS Foundation, a 501C3.
Where to Watch the Dry Land Boat Parade
There are several spots where you can bring folding chairs and watch the parade go by should the parade not go by your house. Here are few spots but by no means a complete list.
Villa Park High School – Here you can watch all the vessels line up and start the parade. You can also head to the other side of VPHS where the parade concludes.
Lemon Street – There is a wide walking trail perfect along this part of the parade route.
Villa Park Elementary – The parade goes by VPE twice and there are plenty of places for folding chairs and blankets.
Villa Park Town Center – The parade ends here and festivities start.
Boat Parade Origin
The first Dry Land Boat Parade was held in December 1982 but the initial idea came from a group of VPHS teenagers the year prior. In 1981, five teens wanted to start a high school club and as somewhat of a joke came up with a yacht club even though none of them, nor their parents, owned a boat. A constitution, teacher sponsor and approval from the student senate quickly yielded them a yacht club with $400 and a page in the VPHS yearbook, The Odyssey.
A year later, one of the boys father’s, Chuck Beesley expanded on the idea at the Women’s League Christmas dance at the Disneyland Hotel. The first year there were about 15 to 20 boats and 75 the next. NBC News even carried the first event live across the Western United States and it has been a Villa Park tradition ever since. However, soon the parade faded and ceased from being an annual event until in 1998 the parade was rekindled and has been an annual tradition ever since.
A “boat” may be defined as anything that can be towed or driven at up to a speed of 5 mph. Typically there all are forms of decorated boats and wheeled transports such as golf carts, Segways, trucks, classic cars, surfboards, kayaks, jet skis and many more creative vehicles.
Past Trophies Have Included:
Best Youth Yacht
Best Holiday Spirit
Best Use of Lights
Best Use of Theme
Rich Freschi Award: Life in Villa Park.
The Dry Land Boat Parade is organized by the Villa Park Community Service Foundation.
More Holiday Events:
- Winterfest at Chapman University
- Orange Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Villa Park Tree Lighting Ceremony
- Orange Park Acres Tree Lighting Ceremony
- VP Santa Tour on a Fire Truck
- Villa Park Boat Parade
- Christmas at the OC Zoo
- Irvine Park Christmas Railroad
- Winter Fest
- Brew Ho Ho Holiday Ale Festival
- Turkey Trots in Orange County
- Turkeys on Trails 5K/10K
- Elves on Trails 5K/1/2 Marathon
- Event Calendar