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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights is back for its 50th year this weekend after the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic.

“It’s going to be spectacular,” said Wayne Strickland, who serves on the board for San Diego Bay Parade of Lights.

The favorite holiday tradition is heading back to the bay for two Sundays this month, Dec. 12 and 19, with a “12 Days of Christmas” theme.

“People were really upset with 2020 and now 2021 we’re going to be rocking and rolling again,” Strickland said.

The parade route starts at Shelter Island and travels past Harbor Island, along the Embarcadero, and the Seaport Village area before it heads to the Coronado Ferry Landing for the finish.

One of the more than 80 boats joining in so far is Max Gurth’s.

“I just get in line and I have about 30 guests on board,” Gurth said. “The kids they have a great time with all the people on the shore saying Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and all that.”

The lights on his boat hold a special meaning honoring his late wife.

“Before she passed she said light up the boat when you come because I buried her at sea and she said I want to see you coming,” Gurth explained.

The outdoor event is one of the safer choices during the ongoing pandemic and security is always top of mind, as with all the big events like the Parade of Lights.

“The Port of San Diego, they’re one of the sponsors and the Harbor Police we work really well with them and the coast guard,” Strickland said.

The parade begins at 5:30 p.m. and typically lasts about two hours.