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A Harbor Full of Lights

This Saturday at 5:30 p.m., the Potomac River along Alexandria's waterfront will light up like a Christmas Tree or, more exactly, like a Christmas boat. That's when Alexandria's Holiday Boat Parade of Lights gets under way.

A joint undertaking by the Alexandria Convention and Visitors Association (ACVA), the Georgetown Business and Professional Association, and the Washington Waterfront Association, the annual holiday event commences at Alexandria's waterfront Dec. 4 and culminates Sunday evening, Dec. 5, at Washington Harbor in Georgetown. There will be collection boxes for Toys for Tots at each location.

ACVA invites everyone to enjoy holiday festivities and donate to Toys for Tots at the City marina from 3-5 p.m., Dec. 4. "Santa will be there along with Plaid the Scottie Dog and music by WASH FM and the Braddock Brass Quintet," said Laura Overstreet, vice president, ACVA Communications.

ACTING IN PARTNERSHIP with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, ACVA will sponsor additional Toys for Tots drop-off points through Dec. 22 at the following locations: The Christmas Attic, Old Dominion Boat Club, Hampton Inn King Street, Ramsey House Visitors Center, Holiday Inn Select, and Marriott Residence Inn Alexandria.

Alexandria's holiday waterfront events kick off at 3 p.m. Saturday on the City docks behind the Torpedo Factory Art Center, with holiday and contemporary music by the Braddock Brass Quintet and WASH FM radio, complimented by refreshments, according to Overstreet.

JOINING PLAID THE SCOTTIE Dog, protagonist in Leslie Young's children's book of the same name, and Santa, will be the Starbucks cheer patrol to provide free refreshments. Many Torpedo Factory artists will be holding special holiday shows with gift items.

WTOP's "Man About Town" Bob Madigan will emcee the Parade of Lights, which begins at 5:30 p.m. It follows a route that will take it to Washington Channel, where another spectacular boat parade will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The John Glenn, a fireboat from Washington, D.C., will lead the parade with a dramatic water show. Georgetown's Sunday Holiday Boat Parade of Lights begins at 5 p.m. at Washington Harbor, 3000 K. St. N.W.

ACVA is coordinating boat participation. Representatives appointed by each of the hosting organizations will judge their corresponding parade. Participating businesses will offer prizes for winning light displays. Interested boaters should contact Lorraine Lloyd at 703-838-4200, Ext. 209, or e-mail her at Llloyd@funside.com.