Holiday flotillas kick off the coastal Christmas season

Santa is foregoing his sleigh to usher in the Christmas season — at least along the coast.

Local flotillas featuring boats decorated in all things Christmas will make their appearance, starting this week.

Here are a few of the upcoming flotillas parading through the area to kick off the Christmas season, coastal-style:

• Swansboro’s Christmas Flotilla will be held Friday beginning at dusk along the White Oak River along the downtown Swansboro waterfront. Santa Claus will also be there to make a special appearance on deck. In the case of rain, the flotilla will be Saturday. For more information, visit SwansboroFestivals.com.

• The Topsail Island Flotilla will also be Friday, beginning at dusk at the Surf City Bridge. The lighted boat parade continues to the south end of Topsail Beach. According to N.C. Coast’s website, the best views are at the Assembly Building and any sound dock or beach, and Soundside Park in Surf City. The Topsail Tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. at 820 S. Anderson Blvd. in Holly Ridge. For more information, call 910-328-5841.

• Jacksonville Breakfast Rotary Club’s annual Christmas Flotilla will be Dec. 3 at the New River Boardwalk next to the USO in Jacksonville. Boats will launch around 5 p.m. and meet in the bay, then start floating in a line toward the USO around 6-6:30 p.m. The flotilla will be rain or shine and Santa will be in the parade and available afterward for photos. There will also be hot chocolate, concessions, and candy for the kids. There is no entry fee and the deadline to register is Friday. For more information, call 919-699-7911.

• The Crystal Coast Christmas Flotilla — including boats, yachts, oars, kayaks and commercial vessels decorated for the holidays — will be Dec. 3. The flotilla will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the Morehead City waterfront and end at 6:15 p.m. on the Beaufort waterfront.

• Sneads Ferry’s Christmas flotilla will begin Dec. 17 at sunset along Charles Creek, which ends near the Sneads Ferry Volunteer Fire Department.