During stressful times, holiday traditions help us maintain a sense of normalcy — and after nearly a year of pandemic-fueled craziness, we could all use a healthy dose of it right about now.

For many of us, even cherished holiday traditions such as gathering with family and visiting Santa Claus have been upended because of a heightened sense of concern over the coronavirus.

Luckily, our community has been able to hang on to some of its own traditions this Christmas season while giving a necessary nod to social distancing.

In that spirit, the Festival of Lights went online a bit early this year — a welcomed surprise that was meant to help keep crowds down by spreading out the event dates over a longer period of time. The popular crowd-attracting events were canceled, but Lake Havasu City residents and visitors are still treated nightly to a gorgeous magical light show on the London Bridge and the nearby English Village.

Tomorrow’s Boat Parade of Lights is another longstanding Havasu tradition we’re happy to see continue. Now in its 38th year, the Boat Parade of Lights is normally organized by the London Bridge Yacht Club. When that organization bowed out because of the coronavirus, a couple of local residents took it upon themselves to see that the event continued.

Interestingly, the boat parade is normally planned well in advance, with boat captains and their crews spending months preparing for the event. Like most things this year, the 2020 Boat Parade of Lights came together quickly.

Organizer JJ Gibbs said the boat parade will feature a showcase of 50 boats and watercrafts in festive lights and dedication. About half that number are entrants who’ve never participated in the parade before. The interest is a sure sign that people are in a mood for holiday traditions.

The boat parade tends to attract large numbers of people, but organizers have made some efforts to limit crowds and encourage social distancing. Those measures include a ban on fire pits and mooring along the channel. They’re easy compromises for the sake of a night of holiday magic.

Few things remind us that the holiday season has arrived in Havasu more than the annual Christmas boat parade. If you’ve never seen it, do yourself a favor and spend Saturday evening at the Bridgewater Channel. It’ll be a chilly – by Havasu standards, anyway — 60-something degrees.

That’s not exactly a white Christmas, but we think it’ll do the trick. For a little normalcy in a hectic year, let’s embrace these Havasu traditions.

— Today’s News-Herald

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