Flotilla trawler

Capt. Dan Midget of Morehead City pilots the commercial fishing trawler Miss Florence around Pivers Island during a previous Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla. (Dylan Ray photo)

Organizers of the Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla can promise at least one Santa Claus on the water this year.

“Sometimes we have six,” Brent Creelman said in a recent press release.

Mr. Creelman is the director of operations of the Friends of the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, which hosts the annual Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla.

Now in its 27th year, the flotilla features boats, yachts, kayaks and commercial vessels decorated for the season.

The boat parade can be seen Saturday, Dec. 7 starting around 5:30 p.m. along the Morehead City waterfront and then around 6:15 p.m. along the Beaufort waterfront.

Proceeds from the event help support the Friends’ Junior Sailing Program.

“The flotilla is such a fun and unique event,” Mr. Creelman said. “We always have a great turnout for the event, which has raised over $42,000 for our very popular Junior Sailing Program.”

Boats may register to participate in the flotilla until noon Dec. 7.

The entry fee is $25, which includes one boat entry and two tickets to the party at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center in Beaufort following the flotilla.

All decorated boats are judged. There is $500 in cash prizes, and awards for excellence and creativity are presented at the party in the center, located across Front Street from the museum.

Additional tickets to the party are $15 for crew members. A limited number of tickets are available for nonparticipants at $30 per person.

The Friends group will host a viewing party in the watercraft center during the flotilla.

Tickets are $60 and are available to Friends of the Museum members only.  

Contact the Friends office at 252-728-1638 to purchase memberships or tickets.

Flotilla festivities also extend to shore, with the event’s official Santa Claus welcoming children at sites in Jaycee Park in Morehead City and in Santa’s hut, set up next to the Dock House restaurant on Front Street in Beaufort.

“The flotilla truly has become an annual tradition on the Crystal Coast,” Mr. Creelman said.  

For more information or to register a vessel, visit maritimefriends.com or call 252-728-2762.

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