Holiday Boat Parade tonight on Manatee River

The annual Holiday Boat Parade starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight.

About 20 sailboats and motor craft will be plying their way up the Manatee River from the Bradenton Yacht Club to the Green Bridge and back again.

The crews go all out to decorate the boats and themselves.

“This is an opportunity to bring our diverse community together to share the excitement and pageantry of the boat parade,” said Ken Nyhus, general manager and CEO of the Bradenton Yacht Club.

Nyhus said the two best spots to watch the parade are the Bradenton Yacht Club, 4307 Snead Island Road, Palmetto, which has outdoor areas open to the public, and Mattison’s Riverside restaurant, 1200 First Avenue West, at the end of the City Pier.

“Our grounds will be open to the public,” he said, “and people can sit on the bleachers or line the seawall and watch the boats make a 180-degree turn to be judged.”