Parade of Lights Fact Sheet

Parade of Lights History and Fact Sheet

In 1989, Harvey Price, then the dock master at Kingsland Reach Marina in Henrico County, decided to decorate his boat and cruise the James. Many other boaters laughed at him, but when they saw how much fun Mr. Price was having and how much people along the river appreciated his efforts, they decided to join him. In 1992, the James River Advisory Council (then called the James River Task Force) approached the boaters with the idea that the parade could be a yearly holiday event, and the official James River Parade of Lights was born. Over the years, the parade has grown, and today features official viewing sites in multiple localities. Thousands throughout the region now consider the parade a cherished holiday tradition.

• Sponsored by the James River Advisory Council working with a planning committee that meets August-December
• Coordinated with the assistance of the parks and recreation departments of Richmond and Henrico and Chesterfield counties, and organizations and individuals throughout the region.
• 2019 Parade Co-Chairs: Olivia & Chris Hall and Bryan Lewis
• To Register boats (no entry fee): online at
• Entry criteria: Powered boat capable of moving 7 knots
• Parade distance: 14-mile parade route from City of Richmond to Varina-Enon Bridge
• Time of the Parade: Boats gather at 5:45 p.m. (6 p.m. parade kick-off). Parade lasts until approximately 8:30 p.m.
• Judging and Prizes awarded in four categories: Local celebrities, as judges, score each boat on:

  • Theme with prize awarded for BEST THEME
  • Originality with prize awarded for MOST ORIGINAL DISPLAY
  • Overall appearance with prize awarded for BEST APPEARANCE ON THE WATER
  • Charm or WOW factor
  • The boat with the highest combine score will receive the prize for BEST IN PARADE
  • In addition, a Best Novice and a Runner up Novice AWARDS will be presented to the best and second-best of the first-time entries
  • There will be a special award for the marina with the most participating boats
  • Awards Celebration: Fellowship for boaters and guests by invitation.

• Viewing sites (free admission): Libby Hill in the City of Richmond, Osborne Park and Boat Landing in Henrico County, Henricus Historical Park in Chesterfield County.
• Number of viewers expected: 6,000-8,000 people plus many more at private areas along the parade route.
• Media coverage: Local coverage before and after the event.
• Inclement Weather Plan: In the event of inclement weather, the Parade Chairman will make a decision by 1 p.m. on the day of the event.
• Drawing prizes: Each boat that participates in the parade is entered in a drawing for donated prizes drawing such as gifts from:

  • Bruner & Associates
  • Chesterfield Parks & Recreation
  • Courtyard Marriott Short Pump
  • Dementi Milestone Publishing
  • Friends of JRAC
  • Henrico Recreation & Parks
  • Henricus Foundation
  • James River Park System Jeff Jones & Waterway Guide Media
  • Richmond Flying Squirrels
  • R.O.M.E.O.s
  • TowBoat US
  • Venture Richmond
  • Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
  • Virginia State Parks