New Bern Holiday Celebration & Flotilla
We experienced something new last weekend. Here, in New Bern, NC, they host an annual holiday celebration. Complete with parades, a concert in Union Point Park by the USMC Band, and the New Bern Flotilla, it is quite the event. During the afternoon, and although we didn’t attend the parades, we could hear the sirens from firetrucks and police cars. Looking across the bay, we could see hundreds of people walking the boardwalk in front of the New Bern Grand Marina and the New Bern Convention Center.
Shannon was under the weather, so I decided to walk across the Cunningham Bridge to get a few pictures. I arrived after the parade had concluded, but was in time to see the United State Marine Corps Band setting up for their concert later that evening. After the walk over, I decided to head back onto the bridge to prepare for the upcoming flotilla. While crossing the bridge, Union Park began to fill with spectators, and I saw “Santa’s Boat” and stage in the bay. The US Coast Guard arrived shortly after and also staged.
Let the Flotilla Begin
Dusk settled over the harbor and the loudspeaker on the bridge hailed all pedestrians commanding them to retreat to the safety zones. Once everyone was safely clear of the bridge opening, the familiar klaxon of bells and horns rang out. The red flashing lights on the barricades came to life and the arms lowered across the roadway.
Off to the southeast, we could see the bright lights from the approaching line of flotilla boats. Behind me, to the north at Union Point Park, the USMC Band began to play classic holiday songs.
As the flotilla boats grew closer, the quay walls, docks and bridge all filled with spectators. “Santa’s Boat” sat patiently, alongside the New Bern Fire Boat, the pilot boat and the Coast Guard Boat, awaiting the flotilla’s arrival. The line crossed under the Hwy 70 Bridge and finally through the railroad trestle into the bay. A pilot boat took the lead and the flotilla parade was officially underway.
There were dozens of boats, both sail and motor, all decorated with lights and ornaments. They followed the pilot boat through the bay and out through the Cunningham Bridge while spectators cheered for their favorite. Our favorites were the “Star Wars Boat,” of course, and the “Happy Holidays Veterans Boat.” However, each boat was unique and beautiful as their lights reflected across the water of the Trent and Neuse Rivers.
Unfortunately, we realized a little too late that the zoom on our cameras were pixelated, especially at night, but, regardless, we hope you enjoy the shots. Shannon and I captured video of the flotilla and will release a YouTube video this week.
In the meantime, we hope you enjoy some of the photos from the event.