SANTA CRUZ -- Harbor leaders threw the switch on a festively decorated Walton Lighthouse Friday night as part of a new holiday lighting tradition.
The lighthouse lit up at dusk and coincided with a holiday party to celebrate it at the O'Neill Sea Odyssey building at 2222 E. Cliff Drive.
"It's a great start to the holidays and it's something great for our community," said Dan Haifley, executive director of O'Neill Sea Odyssey. "We hope it will become a tradition for the Seabright and Live Oak neighborhoods."
The inaugural lighthouse lighting marked the night before the Lighted Boat Parade, which features decorated boats cruising through the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. The parade will take place at 5:30 p.m. Saturday regardless of rain.
A party to celebrate the inaugural lighting was held at the O'Neill Sea Odyssey building.
O'Neill Sea Odyssey advisory board member Bill Simpkins and board member Jim Thoits conceived the new lighting event. Both men raised money to fund the lighthouse's construction.
Since 1996, the O'Neill Sea Odyssey has taken students on a 65-foot catamaran from the harbor to teach them about marine habitats and the coastal environment.
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