CHINO HILLS - Who knew boats being towed by trucks could turn into a two-decade tradition in this city?
Sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Chino Hills, the annual boat parade on Friday had thousands lining the streets, laughing, pointing and admiring the decorated crafts.
Watching the parade from Boys Republic Drive was Rocio Wisniewski, her husband and children.
"I like the parade because of the cheerfulness of the people, the boats and how much time it takes to decorate them," she said.
Some boats had trees, American flags, inflatable Santas, and blasting music.
"It started with a group of folks that threw up some lights on three or four boats and drove down the street playing Christmas music," said Bill Taylor, president of the Kiwanis Club of Chino Hills.
"James Thalman, one of the city's former mayors, and a handful of families started it as something random and fun ... and as you can imagine it got a little more elaborate."
The parade, which featured 76 boats, began at the corner of Eucalyptus Avenue and Peyton Drive, gliding pass the Civic Center and the Thalman Library through the Boys Republic campus and west on Eucalyptus Avenue, and returning to the starting point.
Before the parade began Ayala and Chino Hills high school choir students were busy spreading the holiday cheer with traditional Christmas carol tunes.
After the parade 27 boats were docked at the Chino Hills Community Church's parking lot.
Award trophies were given to the best boat, best light, most patriotic, best humor/originality and the mayor's award.
This year a table was set up for those interested in filling out sympathy cards for the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Jyoti Metha set up the table of 750 sympathy cards that will be delivered to the families of Sandy Hook Elementary.
"Pick a card, put your thoughts down and I'll mail it," she told those inquiring about the cards.
Metha said some cards are blank while others have messages of hope.
"It's just a way to send a kind thought," she said.
Want to send a card, contact Metha at firstname.lastname@example.org
A banner was also there for those willing to write a message.
Reach Canan via email, call her at 909-987-6397 ext. 425, or find her on Twitter @ChinoValleyNow.