The Redondo Christmas celebration is back on, will be Wednesday night, Dec. 17


Violent windstorms less than two weeks apart delivered a serious blow to the Redondo community’s boardwalk and then apparently forced cancellation of the annual bonfire celebration that coincides with the visitation of the Christmas Ship.

But Mother Nature didn’t count on the resilience of Argosy Cruises’ Director of Marketing Maureen Black and Salty ‘s Managing Partner Terianne Broyles. Both are defiantly declaring: The party is on!

The powerful windstorm that swept into Western Washington on Dec. 11 forced Argosy to cancel a nightly sailing of the Christmas Ship for only the second time in 18 years. Although there was no physical damage to Redondo itself this time, much of the rest of the region suffered considerable tree damage and power outages.

Black was up early the next morning, taking the scissors to the sailing itinerary of this Wednesday’s Christmas Ship cruise from Des Moines to Dash Point and carved out a sufficient block of time to allow the festive fleet to sail along the Redondo Waterfront for an abbreviated 10-minute concert.

Normally the captain of the ship is putting whatever the nautical equivalent of “peddle to the metal” is to make a bee-line run from Dash Point back to the Des Moines Marina in time for passengers to disembark at a decent hour on a work/school night.

“We love [the] community support and will do everything possible,” Black said. “We will make this happen.”

Salty’s Broyles quickly pledged cocoa/coffee and cookies for everyone and the Des Moines Marina agreed to provide free parking the night of Dec. 17 in the fishing pier parking lot.

The new itinerary for the Wednesday, Dec. 17 sailing now reads:

DEPARTURE: Des Moines Marina, 7-9:40 p.m.
CHOIR: Joyful! Noise
PERFORMANCES: 7:15-7:35 Des Moines Marina Park*; 8:15-8:35 Dash Point*; 9:05-9:15 Redondo Beach
Official Christmas Ship with choir on board SOLD OUT
Book now for the Parade Boat following the Christmas Ship

The Argosy Cruises Christmas Ship festival is a holiday celebration that has been a Pacific Northwest tradition since 1949. Every year, the Argosy Christmas Ship sails to different Puget Sound waterfront communities, over 45 in total.

This year AAA Washington, KOMO and the Seattle Times sponsor the festival.

Choirs onboard sing 20-minute performances to these communities, all broadcast via state-of-the-art speaker system. On shore, thousands of people gather around roaring bonfires anticipating the arrival of the Christmas Ship.

For those watching on shore at Redondo, South King Fire & Rescue has come to the community’s aid and reissued the permit for the bonfire that will start at 8:30.

Anyone planning to attend the bonfire is asked to be mindful of traffic restrictions in place not only for the event, but also because of the damage to the boardwalk. There will be some street closures with detours along narrow streets and the fencing isolating the boardwalk further reduces lane widths along Redondo Beach Drive.

On Nov. 29, Mother Nature blew up an unusual wave and tidal surge from the northwest that landed a haymaker on the boardwalk and caused and estimated $1.5 million in damages according to Des Moines officials.

With many planks snapped and missing, the boardwalk looks like the mouth of prizefighter who forgot his teeth guard. City officials are awaiting lower tides to determine the exact condition of the seawall and boardwalk support system.

In the meantime, it appears that damage throughout Western Washington from the storm on Nov. 29 may have breeched the $10 million threshold for Federal Emergency Management Act relief. State and county officials are also looking into ways to possibly help, said Des Moines Marina Harbormaster Joe Dusenbury.

And although the community’s Christmas celebration is back on, Mother Nature could still be planning to act as the Grinch.

A series of king tides the week of and specifically Christmas morning at 7:45 are expected to reach as high as 13.63 feet and any significant wind or wave action could cause further damage and flooding. High tide on Nov. 29 was nearly a foot lower at 12.83 feet.

A month later, another series of king tides the week of Jan. 18 are expected to culminate at 13.75 feet on Jan. 23 at 7:15 a.m.

But before then, the Christmas Ship will put into Redondo this Wednesday and the community will have its Christmas cheer back.


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