Five Minutes With: Owen Hand, Light Up The Night participant

jpaprocki@islandpacket.comDecember 2, 2011 

  • - A Night On The Town will be held at 6 p.m. today in downtown Beaufort. Businesses will be open late for holiday shopping, and there will be live entertainment.

    - Main Street Beaufort, USA and the Beaufort Sail and Power Squadron present the Light Up The Night boat parade at 5:30 p.m. Saturday along the Beaufort River. Boats will start arriving at 5 p.m. at the seawall at Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

    - The annual Christmas parade begins at 3 p.m. Sunday downtown.


Climbing up on the roof to hang Christmas lights requires a bit of skill and daring. Now imagine what it takes to hang lights off a sailboat mast.

Boats lit up to match the holiday season will float along the Beaufort River for the annual Light Up The Night parade Saturday evening.

Owen Hand has been boating since he was about 4 years old, he estimates, and has participated in the holiday boat parade since the early '80s. He'll be participating once again, this time on his power boat.

Hand describes the art behind boat decoration.

Question. How long have you been involved in the boat parade?

Answer. Probably since 1981 or '82. There was one boat. Not my boat. It just went out and circled around. The next year I got involved. So we doubled the number.

It was done by a group of people who just wanted to get their boats out and enjoy the season. I've done it with all the various and sundry boats I've had over the years.

Q. What kind of boat do you have now?

A. A 22-foot Glacier Bay. I've had that for about six years.

Q. Is it difficult to decorate boat?

A. You're limited to what you can hang things on and still be able to see. You basically just follow the leader. You have to be sensitive. It's different driving a boat at night, and you've got to be careful with the current in front of the marina and the bridge. There was a boat a few years ago, the current got ahead of her and she slammed into another boat.

Q. What's the most elaborate you've decorated one of your boats?

A. It was probably one of my sailboats. We had lights all over the thing. Lights up and down the mast. With a sailboat, you can make it look like a Christmas tree. I don't want to make it like a Griswold thing, though.

Q. How's the competition among the boaters?

A. Oh, it does get somewhat competitive. There's prizes to be given out and egos that have to be fed. But it's all in good fun. We all like to have a good time.

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