Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights

By George Miller

Every year on the second Saturday in December, the most motivated local boaters compete in Oxnard’s Channel Islands Parade of Lights, a pageant of decorated, lighted boats of all sizes. This year’s theme was “Hooray for Hollywood,” a salute to Oxnard’s connections with Hollywood over the years. In addition to the boat parade, there were multiple other events for kids and adults alike, food and booths selling all kinds of things.


“renewal” was the winner in Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights competition for best vessel over 30′,. Owners Peter and Lyndsay Timpson also garnered 1st place for best dressed crew and 1st Sweepstakes (overall winner). Also last year’s winner here and Ventura. Photo:

From Channel Islands Harbor website:

“Hooray for Hollywood” celebrates our area’s silver screen history. Join us for a red carpet affair with seasonal flair. This time-honored tradition kicks off the holidays with a full day and evening of family fun, thousands of sparkling lights dancing on the water and the magical moment when Santa flies across the sky marking the beginning of the parade. Children’s activities and artists market will take place at Marine Emporium Landing, meet Santa (12 pm – 4 pm), snowplay in the morning and strolling carolers (5:30 pm – 8:30 pm). Parade begins at 7 p.m. and can be viewed throughout the harbor. Waterfront viewing is available from some restaurants & boat charters.

Anatomy of a Parade of Lights Victory


It’s much less glamorous doing the hard preparation work for the parade in the cold light of day, but having glamorous ex-model Joanna George-Wolf to do it doesn’t hurt. Photo:

We contacted the co-owner of the winning craft “Renewal”, Ms. Lyndsay Timpson. She graciously gave all the credit to designer-crew member Joanna George-Wolf, saying “Joanie creates, Joanie is the mastermind. She has free reign.” She said that they “move pieces to her specifications and get her stuff that she needs.” They only intervened to tell her what will work and what is safe or not safe, she added. The trapeze for the aerial dancer required some effort to get right and safe, Ms. Timpson told us.  She went on to say that Joannie is so easy to work with , with great creative ideas and is also willing to listen to safety and appearance advice.


The Timpson’s boat Renewal being readied for the Ventura Event, themed “National Parks”

We met Ms.George-Wolf, or “Joanie,” as she prefers, a former model, personal trainer and now “stay-at-home Mom” to a four year-old son. After 2 seasons of forced servitude, her son said he hates the holidays, so Joanie vowed to back off. When I first saw Joanie on the dock at the yacht club, she was carrying a load of gear more suitable for someone about a hundred pounds heavier. While we were talking, she was variously moving gear, making phone calls or climbing on a ladder. All this was to adapt the Renewal for the Ventura event theme, which is “National Parks. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the park system and Channel Islands National Park’s just a hop across the channel. Ventura and Channel Islands Harbors are the gateways to that fabulous park.


Joanna George-Wolf, chief architect of over 30′ Parade of Lights winner in several categories. Photo:

Joanie was having none of Ms. Timpson giving her all the credit for their victory. She proceeded to rattle off a list of credits- and I hope I didn’t miss anyone here…. Shana Base is her co-project manager who does everything together with her. Trevor Farren, a Ventura contractor, turned much of her dreams into reality on the design, including a moon and Anacapa arch, and more. Her Uncle Jim Harber built the skeleton gate. Allen Taylor and Sparky Miller helped with some builds and props. Joanie painted everything when she wasn’t honcho-ing the project. Electricians Brad Plunkett and Daniel Base made the elaborate lighting scheme get glowing reviews. Ventura Aerial Dance Studio’s Edyn Tarkany and Kirstyn Burns are the aerial dancers on the trapeze on deck. Even PCYC Commodore Jerry Kaufman got in on the act, helping with the props. She made sure to give credit to husband Gunnar Wolf who helped and and puts up with all of this.

The owner-couple (Peter Timpson is the skipper and the other half) is associated with the Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, which is the focal point for the event. They originally purchased the Renwal to live on, but for a variety of reasons, that didn’t work out. So they bought a waterfront place in the Mandalay Bay neighborhood to dock the boat and even got to live there as an added bonus, forsaking their previous Thousand Oaks abode.  They also own Pete’s Breakfast House, a restaurant in Ventura.

The Timpson’s also used the boat to win the Channel Islands and Ventura event last year. They will again compete in Ventura this Saturday.


Deck show on Timpson’s boat Saturday night at Channel Islands Harbor Parade of Lights. Photo: from Stephanie Rhodes


More fine pics compliments of Albert Munoz! …



.. and the winners, by category ….


A statement from Vice-Commodore Jerry Kaufman, Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club

Our yacht Club gets after this event for a number of reasons including:
A.  We want to be a good harbor neighbor.  It is an event the harbor community enjoys putting together for the general Oxnard community.  It is apparent to us all that the community truly enjoys watching the parade and cheering on each display.
B.  Friends and relatives, especially the children of parents and grandparents of our Club, enjoy coming to the Club at Parade of Lights.  It’s a big deal: we have a buffet and an ideal view of the harbor to watch the parade and, of course, to cheer on our entry.
C.  And putting forth our best effort to win the competition helps validate the Club as the special place we all think it is.  Putting together a “spectacular” entry shows off the best of our Club: it requires a ridiculous amount of energy and long hours from our young members and serious assistance from older members who enjoy decorating or who have special skills in the construction and electrical trades.
D.  For many of our members decorating our entry is part of the spirit of the holiday. 
Happy Holidays!



Sailboat tows Santa in a dingy at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:

51st Annual Parade of Lights – Channel Islands Harbor

Event application form:



Lights (poor), camera, action! Santa does take one at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:

We heard that about 30 boats were entered this year, but saw many more out on the water, plus even more at their docks. Dozens of sailboats had long strings of lights hung from their masts. One dock had hundreds of feet of multi-colored lights strung its entire length (darn- pic didn’t come out well).


Christmas carolers serenade crowds at Marine Emporium Landing, epicenter of the event at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:



Dozens of vendors sold food and wares at Marine Emporium Landing, epicenter of the event at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:

Much of the boating community and local residents were out and about. But so were many from in town, out of town regional folks and some from much farther away. For some reason, the harbor also attracts foreign tourists from Europe and the far east, but usually more in the summer. Someone must be doing a real good promotional job.


Possibly a yacht converted into a Hollywood movie set at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:



Vendor hawks lighted decorations at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:



Many boats were decorated at Vintage Marina during the Christmas season and Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:


The Parade of Lights festivities were followed by another full day of events Sunday at the Santa-to-the-Sea Half Marathon, fun run, etc. This has become a major fundraiser and overall fun time over the years under the able leadership of Mike Barber.

There is also a harbor area home decoration contest run by local realtor Sheldon Berger- [email protected]


Sportfisher transits the harbor Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:

Channel Islands Harbor with its large marinas, beautiful waterfront homes, hotels, boatyards, stores, restaurants and nearby sandy (hardly any rocks) beaches is truly the jewel of Oxnard and the Ventura County sea coast. Nearby Ventura Harbor and beaches add to that, as does Oxnard’s mostly wild, primitive Ormond Beach, gradually being restored to its original pristine wetlands. This area is a paradise for tourists, boaters, surfers, kayakers, fishermen, wildlife-watchers and residents.


A stately, lighted sailboat at Channel Islands Parade of Lights, 12-10-16, Photo:

Ventura will host a similar event this coming Saturday on December 17.

Upcoming Events | 40th Annual Parade of Lights | | Ventura Harbor …


Note:  These photos all taken with a cell phone. 

George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant residing in Oxnard

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