Even without the lighted boats and the fireworks, Saturday night would still have been beautiful on the Sausalito waterfront with a silver moon shining on the bay and the lights of the city and the Bay Bridge sparkling across the water. But the 26th annual Sausalito Lighted Boat Parade and Fireworks Spectacular made it even more, well, spectacular.
Dozens of colorfully lighted boats glided slowly along a waterfront lined with spectators and slowly moving cars looking for precious parking spaces. Many of the parade watchers enjoyed drinks and fare from gourmet food trucks at the Sausalito Chamber of Commerce's Second Annual Winterfest, held in a big white tent on Spinnaker Drive.
Sue Ann Hirschberg, a San Francisco entertainment producer and former Mill Valley resident, had never seen a lighted boat parade before driving across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito for Saturday's chilly, night time festivities.
"This is my very first, which I think is very funny because I would probably get on a plane to go see a lighted boat parade," she said, sipping a drink at one of the Winterfest's outdoor stand-up tables overlooking the bay. "This is so convenient, and yet I'd never been. But then I lived here for 14 years before I went to Alcatraz, and it took visitors from out of town to get me there."
This time it took her Nob Hill neighbor, publicist Nancy Balik, who recently moved to the Bay Area from Southern California, where she became a virtual lighted boat parade connoisseur.
"I've been to the Newport parade, the Long Beach parade, the parade in Santa Barbara," she said, adding at one point, "This is definitely better than Newport."
It cost $20 to get inside the tent to buy drinks from two no-host bars, stroll through a mini-Sausalito Art festival and listen to the duo of Damir & Dave strum guitars and sing soft rock oldies.
"I'm new to the city, so I'm still in the gaga stage," Balik said. "But this was a good idea. I'm really glad we came because it's gorgeous."