The Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade was canceled this week because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases, marking the first time in many years the Annapolis holiday tradition dropped anchor.
But the parade committee found a reason for holiday cheer Friday when it unveiled the poster for the 2020 running of the popular boat parade, now set to return Dec. 11, 2021.
The gouache painting by former Annapolis resident Rhonda Ford features Santa sailing through the drawbridge over Spa Creek, dingy full of presents in-tow, with a big bright star at the top of the mast against a dark night sky. Ford said she has attended many lights parades and enjoys making dark nocturne paintings with spots of illumination.
She painted it in July and August when the temperatures were in the 90s. It was nice to think about a chilly evening on the water, waiting for the lighted boats to pass.
She hopes the painting will bring a little nostalgia and brightness to others, even though the event has been canceled.
The poster competition kicked off at the start of 2020, so artists were already working on entries when the pandemic hit, event co-chair Trudy Miller said. Even though the club’s 38th lights parade was canceled, they still wanted to honor the winning artist.
The painting was unveiled during a livestream on the club’s Facebook page Friday night. Posters and cards with the artwork will be available for sale to the public.
Ford was delighted to win the contest and said it has been hard to keep the good news secret.
Miller said this year’s sponsor, Long & Foster Real Estate’s Eastport Office, has agreed to sponsor the event again next year, ensuring that despite a tough 2020, the lights will be back on Dec. 11, 2021.