The sun may set early this time of year, but the Savannah area is alive with lights for the holidays.

The annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place on the Savannah River on the evening of Nov. 25. The event will feature more than 30 decorated boats, plus fireworks.

Those who want to be on the water for the parade can enjoy hors d'oeuvres, entertainment and drink specials with the folks at Savannah Riverboat Cruises. Boarding is at 6 p.m. with sailing from 7-9 p.m. Tickets are $52.95 for adults, $29.95 for children ages 5-12 and free for children 4 and younger.

Visitors can also buy tickets to view the boat parade during a special event hosted by the Savannah Harbor Foundation on Hutchinson Island. The entertainment lineup includes performances by the Savannah Children's Choir and Jim Wann. Tickets ($10 and up) can be purchased via the Savannah Harbor Foundation website.

Of course, there is no cost for simply going to River Street to see the annual spectacle.

You might also want to mark your calendars now for this year's Christmas on the River Lighted Parade, which is scheduled for Dec. 2. The parade will get rolling on River Street at 5:30 p.m. and work its way through downtown.

Also, the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens at 2 Canebrake Road will be decked out as usual for the holidays with tens of thousands of lights.

Guests can view the lights at the gardens from 6-9 p.m. between Nov. 24 and Dec. 24, assuming the weather is good. General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 3-12 and free for children under 3. Thursdays are family nights with $5 general admission for ages 4 and up. I would advise calling ahead (912-921-5460) if the weather looks dodgy.

The CGBG is also launching a major annual fundraising event in conjunction with the holiday season. The Bright Lights, Botanical Nights party from 5:30-9 p.m. Nov. 28 will include food stations and an open bar catered by 45 Bistro. If you're interested in supporting the fundraiser for the Children's Garden, information on tickets ($100 for adults, $20 for children 6-12 and older and free for children under 5) is available via Tickets are limited and must be purchased by Nov. 20.

Bill Dawers writes City Talk in Savannah Morning News and blogs at Savannah Unplugged ( and hissing lawns ( Email


What: Boat Parade of Lights

When: 5-10 p.m. Nov. 25

Where: River Street Savannah

Cost: Savannah Riverboat Cruise, $52.95 adults, $29.95 children 5-12, free for children under 4; watch from The Westin, $10 or $20 VIP


What: December Nights & Holiday Lights

When: 6-9 p.m. Nov. 24-Dec. 24

Where: Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens, 2 Canebrake Road

Cost: $10 adults, $5 children 3-12, free for children under 3; Family Night Thursdays are $5 for all ages and free for children under 3


What: Christmas on the River Lighted Parade

When: 5:30 p.m. Dec. 2

Where: Historic River Street and downtown Savannah

Cost: Free; participant applications due Nov. 28