Saturday will be both nautical and nice as a seafaring Santa arrives in a boat parade and musical merriments emanate from Dunedin's Edgewater Park.
Festivities, scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m., begin as the Dunedin 2010 Holiday Boat Parade, sponsored by the Dunedin Boat Club, departs around 6 p.m. from Marker 1 Marina, 343 Causeway Blvd. in Dunedin.
More than 30 illuminated vessels are expected to be a part of the boater-cade.
Sailboats and powerboats of all sizes and decor will proceed south until they reach a marker near Union Street, where they will loop back to the Dunedin Municipal Marina, arriving about 7:30 p.m.
Old St. Nick will leave his reindeer napping at a nearby island (because they don't swim well) and make his way to the marina via a Pinellas County sheriff's boat.
Then, he'll officially kick off the Christmas season by lighting the city's 34-foot Christmas tree at Edgewater Park, adjacent to the marina, at 8 p.m.
While waiting for his arrival, spectators can enjoy hot dogs, s'mores, and hot chocolate from the dollar cafe and enjoy music by the Dunedin Concert Band, which starts performing at 7 p.m.
The vessels, festooned with holiday decor, lights, music, animations and costumed characters, will be scored by a three- judge panel which will choose 10 winners.
George Schott, parade master, said several illuminated boat parades will churn through Tampa Bay waters in the weeks to come, "but this is one of the very best for public viewing."
He suggested spectators park along the side streets on Edgewater Drive or around the marina plaza.
Or, come early to watch the boats assemble at Marker 1 Marina.
And in the holiday spirit, "please respect private property," he added.
A list of all boat parades in Florida can be viewed at www.boatus.com/Events.
Carl Young, 72, a past commodore of the Dunedin Boat Club, said he hopes to snag another first-place pennant with his boat, The Friends Ship.
He has filled the 16-foot red, white and blue tugboat he built himself with Christmas glee.
"We're going to have multicolored lights, a big star on top, a wreath on the bow and cute little kids dressed up as elves," he said.
"We'll loop around the marina as a showboat for the children to enjoy."
Terri Bryce Reeves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.