The USS Iowa get decked out with Christmas lights this week for the unveiling during the evening of Dec.1 in conjunction with the LA Harbor boat parade.
The USS Iowa get decked out with Christmas lights this week for the unveiling during the evening of Dec.1 in conjunction with the LA Harbor boat parade. (Chuck Bennett / Staff Photographer)

The USS Iowa battleship in San Pedro will be adorned with 10,000 multicolored Christmas lights through December, thanks to donations and volunteer efforts.

The World War II vessel, which opened as a museum in July at the Port of Los Angeles, will light up during a holiday event on the ship Saturday night.

"We want the Iowa to be lit up like she was when she was in active service," said Pacific Battleship Center President Robert Kent.

Dozens of volunteers have been stringing lights since mid-November along the ship's main deck, guns and antenna, from bow to mast to stern. Donations of money and lights have been streaming in for weeks.

Lights adorn the USS Iowa this week for the unveiling during the evening of Dec.1 for the L.A. Harbor boat parade.
Lights adorn the USS Iowa this week for the unveiling during the evening of Dec.1 for the L.A. Harbor boat parade. (Chuck Bennett / Staff Photographer)

By Saturday, the ship's three 16-inch gun barrels will be wrapped in lights, and its antenna will be decorated like a Christmas tree, said ship's spokesman Mike McEnteggart.

"I saw the ship lit up in the '80s three times, and she was the best looking ship in Norfolk, Virginia," said McEnteggart, who worked as a fireman on the Iowa from 1985 to 1989. Each holiday season, military ships in the Norfolk Navy Yard would be decorated. "There were 100 or more ships decorated every year, and she was the best."

The holiday event on the ship will include a good view of the Los Angeles Harbor boat parade, photos with Santa Claus, entertainment and snacks from 5:30-9 p.m. Members of the Pacific Battleship Center can purchase adult tickets for $25 and children's tickets for $18. Nonmember tickets are $35 for adults and $25 for children.

"We're shooting for the best holiday display in all of L.A.," McEnteggart said.

For more information, visit www.pacificbattleship.com or purchase tickets online at https://tickets.pacificbattleship.com/mainstore.asp.

sandy.mazza@dailybreeze.com

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