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A Harbor Of Christmas Lights

There was Santa parachuting, a Viking ship, a carousel, a giant stocking with SpongeBob coming out the top, and of course Santa being lead by his reindeer. All cruised down the Potomac River, lead by the District of Columbia fireboat "The John Glenn."

An enthusiastic crowd of well-wishers in the holiday spirit packed Alexandria's city dock. They were all there to cheer on their favorite entry in the City's 2004 Holiday Boat Parade of Lights.

Just as darkness fell over the river, the lighted "John Glenn" appeared, shooting sprays of water high into the air and wishing everyone a Happy Holidays. That was followed by a powerboat with a lighted image of "Rudolph," sporting his bright red nose.

Then came his eight reindeer cohorts and the man, himself, in a lighted sleigh, represent.eetked sed downeal,ional option the National Potomac Yacht Club.

"Pumpkin's Joy," representing Landmark Yacht Club in Stafford, VA, was captained by Harald Seiler. It carried a "boat load" of Toys for Tots collected by the Dale City Fire Department.

Last Thursday, Alexandria's Old Dominion Boat Club hosted a captain's and first mate's parade coordination meeting and reception. Following the parade Saturday night the District of Columbia's Capital Yacht Club hosted the Annual Awards Party, according to Lorraine Lloyd, ACVA coordinator of this year's event.

All in all 58 boats, both power and sail, took part this year. They ranged from large yachts and cabin cruisers to small sail boats and houseboats. But, they all had one thing in common, a spirit crew to match the enthusiasm on shore.

This season's Best of Show went to Matt Martelli from the Potomac Yacht Club. He and his crew had decorated the 32 foot Carver Montego to resemble a Viking vessel named "The Colonel's Lady."

Other winners, their entry titles and categories were:

* Best Powerboat: Linda Purdy's 53 foot Hatteras, "Top Shelf"

* Best Sailboat: Bryan Burke's 30 foot Siedelman, "Liberty"

* Best Spirit of America: Harald Seiler's 35 foot Silverto, "Pumpkin's Joy"

* Best New Entry: Dave Grossman's 30-foot Maxum, "Get Ready"

* Most Spirited Crew : Bess Conway, captaining "Mary Morgan"

* Best Theme : Carlos Munoz's 48-foot Sea Ray, "L'Otra and Eight Reindeer"

* Thinking Outside the Christmas Box: Diane Lee's 37-foot Sting Ray, "Our Det"

* Hardiest Souls: Dorothy Stocks' 24-foot Yankee Dolphin sailboat

*Best Try: Rick Kikulski's 50-foot houseboat, "Casita"

*Best Animation : Paul Lain's 48-foot Classic, "Story Maker"

Honorable mention went to: Chuck Bryant's "Ivory Tower"; Scott Schramm's "Ocean Buoys"; Stan Grubaugh's "Transpac"; Bob Tagert's "Dawn Treader"; and Jay Adkinson's "Permanent Vacation."

Judging the passing parade were Rob Krupicka and Andrew Macdonald, Alexandria City Council; Susan Allen, wife of U.S. Senator George Allen (R-VA), a representative of Southern Living Magazine; and a certain Alexandria Gazette reporter.