Santa’s sleigh will glide through the Gilbert Islands tonight — across the lake in the community’s traditional Parade of Lights.
Paul Cox has decorated his boat as a bright red sleigh and will join about 30 fellow residents as they display their boats in a journey across Lake Three, the largest of three lakes in the development.
“I’ll wear a Santa suit,” Cox said. He said the homeowners association is seeking to double its attendance for the event, which is free and open to the public. '
“We have some other sleighs, people just put on all sorts of lights,” he said.
The associations’ two other lakes will display residents’ decorated boats, as many as 40, on Dec. 16.
Tonight’s event starts at Islands Community Park on the south side of Warner Road between Islands East and Islands West. Boats gather at 5:45 p.m. and the parade begins at 6 p.m.
Homes along the lakes are decorated in a variety of lights, and every boat has a theme: One has a nativity scene, another lit reindeer and a third has antlers and a Rudolph nose. Many residents also will host holiday parties.
On Dec. 16, Lakes One and Two begin their parades at 6 p.m. Lake Two begins near Islands Community Park, while Lake Three begins at the community’s central fountain at the end of South Islands Drive, just off Elliot Road.
Bill and Joanne Humiston have taken part in the nearly decade old tradition for seven years. In the past, they had a Santa throwing candy, though this year they have focused on icicle lights and a party in their cove.
“It’s just a beautiful event, and it promotes community,” Joanne Humiston said. “As we go by, people are cheering. It gets people into the holiday spirit.”