Burlington, New Jersey, boasts more than 300 years of history, with its founding dating back to 1677. The city sits on the banks of the Delaware River in Burlington County, with the river playing a central role in one of the annual celebrations staged in the community. The Festival of Lights Boat Parade features a procession of vessels on the Delaware River, as well as other events for visitors to enjoy.
The history of the festival dates back to the early 1990s, with the event sponsored by the Greater Burlington Chamber of Commerce (greaterburlingtoncoc.com). In 2011 the Historic Bristol Borough (bristolborough.com), located on the opposite bank of the Delaware River from Burlington, also joined in the fun by sponsoring the event. The festival generally takes place during one day in August each year.
One of the main events of the festival involves a parade of boats, which makes its way along the Delaware River. The boats taking part in the procession come adorned with lights and other decorations, with the parade starting as the sun sets to provide an impressive view for the spectators.
Following the completion of the boat parade, the light theme of the festival continues, and the event typically concludes with a fireworks show. The display over the Delaware River provides those attending with a spectacular finale to the festival.
Visitors can also enjoy other events during the festival. Vendors selling a variety of food and other wares generally set up on the promenade alongside the river, providing the opportunity to do a little shopping and enjoy a snack. Spectators also enjoy some music, with entertainment taking place as events get under way.
Winter Festival of Lights
Burlington also stages a Winter Festival of Lights during November and December. This six week event, also sponsored by the Greater Burlington Chamber of Commerce, features light sculptures by artists in the High Street area of the city. These artistic pieces provide a decorative display during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods. Events that typically take place during the course of the festival include a parade and tree lighting, an annual Holiday House Tour, a treasure hunt and Santa's Workshop for children.
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