Published: Dec 13, 2010 5:21 PM EST
Updated: Dec 13, 2010 9:57 AM EST

CAPTIVA ISLAND, Fla --Christmas may be two weeks away, but the celebration has already begun on Captiva Island.  More than 20 boats decorated with thousand of lights paraded past hundreds of spectators Saturday night for the island's first "The Light the Way Boat Parade."

Everything from tiny sail boats, to festive ferries, to luxury yachts wowed the crowds gathered at island establishments like South Seas Island Resort, 'Tween Waters Inn marina, the Green Flash restaurant, and Jensen's Twin Palm Cottages & Marina.

The boats were divided into three categories: vessels 36 feet and over, vessels 35 feet and under and sailboats of any size.  They were scored on creativity, effort, and overall presentation by a panel of judges, including WINK News Anchor Jennifer Stacy, News-Press cartoonist Doug MacGregor, and the founder of Operation Open Arms Captain John Bunch.

Jennifer Stacy and Brad Junghans, General Manager of Captiva Cruises, announced the winners during a "Blues, Brews and Ribs Awards Party" at Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbecue at South Seas Island Resort.  Prizes included stays at Jensen's Twin Palm Cottages & Marina, South Seas Island Resort, 'Tween Waters Inn, and a $500 gift certificate to Offshore Sailing School.

The boat parade was part of the Captiva Holiday Village, a month-long festival of events and activities on the islands.  It's hoped it will become a holiday tradition for families in Southwest Florida and from all over the world.

PICTURES: http://www.sanibelcaptivadaily.com/2010/12/12/captiva-island-florida-holiday-village-celebrates-the-light-the-way-boat-parade-captiva-boat-parade/