I just heard about it last night!!!! I think next year I'm going to see it for myself....
Chino Hills Boat Parade makes waves
By Amy Frye, Staff Writer
CHINO HILLS - What started as a protest against incorporation in 1991 has ironically evolved into one of the city's most beloved holiday traditions -- the Chino Hills Boat Parade.
This year more than 65 boats are expected to participate in the two-day parade that winds its way through the asphalt streets of the city.
But the lack of water hasn't doused community enthusiasm for this quirky celebration.
"Every time I tell someone we're involved in the Chino Hills Boat Parade they say, "Where is the water?' but we don't need water. People love it, they line the streets," said event organizer Ernie Kruse of the Chino Hills Kiwanis Club.
Kruse said each year the parade grows, and spectators come from as far as Pomona and Claremont.
On Thursday 15 decorated boats and their tow vehicles started to snake their way through the city's Los Serranos neighborhood at 6 p.m. The entire route took a little over three hours to complete and was led by Kruse in his "Rudolph the Red-Nosed RV," complete with antlers.
"It's pretty nice, it puts you in the merry mood," said Lidiya Tokarets, 15, of Chino Hills.
Tonight the parade will start at 6:30 p.m. at Eucalyptus Avenue and Peyton Drive. The route will go north on Peyton Drive, turn right onto Grand Avenue, and finish up with a lap through the Boys Republic.
The boat parade these days is a far cry from its origins, when a group of Chino Hills residents, led by Kruse's friend Tim Neel, would tow their boats decorated with Christmas lights, a tree and a toy train through the neighborhoods in the middle of the summer while blasting Alvin and the Chipmunks' holiday tunes.
"No one made much of a connection (between the boats and protesting incorporation), but they thought it was a bunch of fun so they jumped in," Kruse said.
Over the years the City Council and Kiwanis Club got involved and started hosting the parade a few days before Christmas.
"Jim Thalman, (former mayor and Kiwanis Club member), really put his heart and soul into this event and I am just trying to carry the torch for him," said Councilman Curt Hagman, who has participated in the parade for nine years.
Amy Frye can be reached by e-mail at amy.frye@dailybulletin.com or by phone at (909) 483-9347.