Dress the kids warmly and head for tonight's 25th annual Christmas Boat Parade in Marina del Rey. More than 80 boats--everything from a double-hulled canoe to an 85-footer--are expected to join the promenade in the main channel.
The theme of tonight's procession is "Sentimental Journeys," and boat owners will pay homage to this thought with strings of lights and flood-lit constructions on deck.
Darkened boats will line up before 5:30 p.m. and, with a flurry of fireworks, will light up and continue their 4-knot pace around the channel.
Best Viewing Spots
The boats loop the channel several times, until 7:30 p.m. when awards are presented to the best-decorated floats. Best viewing spots are along the walkway of Fisherman's Village, 13755 Fiji Way, and at Burton Chace Park at the end of Mindanao Way. Also: the north jetty on the peninsula, which can be reached by driving south on Via Marina to the end. Free parking is available in county lots, which will be opened in the late afternoon.
Information: (213) 821-7614.
Christmas Films--The Children's Film and Television Center of America presents 90 minutes of holiday films today at 11 a.m. and again next weekend. There's an animated German version of "The Nutcracker," "The Snowy Day" (celebrating a small boy's joy at the first snowfall of the season), "The Snowman" (from England) and "The Christmas Messenger" (a combination live-action and animated short in which Richard Chamberlain explains the folk history behind Christmas carols). Today's program is at the Rialto Theater, 1023 Fair Oaks Ave., South Pasadena. Next Saturday's program (also at 11 a.m.) is at the Nuart Theater, 11272 Santa Monica Blvd., West Los Angeles. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children, 3 to 16; younger than 3, free. Information: (213) 743-8632.
Nature and Bird Walk--The Friends of Ballona Wetlands have scheduled their last walk of the year Sunday morning. Ecologists and bird experts will be on hand to explain the animal and plant life of the wetlands as visitors enjoy a short, dry walk along the channel. Meet near the Ballona Creek footbridge at the north end of Pacific Avenue in Playa del Rey. Arrive between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. Free. Information: (213) 821-7695.
WinterFest--The Music Center plaza, in Downtown Los Angeles, does its best to look like a winter wonderland during the Christmas season. Tiny, white-light reindeer are poised in the shallow pools of the Mark Taper Forum. Looming above them are a 40-foot Christmas tree and huge snowflakes. Today the Edelweiss Signers will perform from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The USC Chamber Singers will present a "talking Christmas present" tonight from 6:50 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. Sunday it's the James Linahon Quintet (1:15 to 2:15 p.m.) and the Aman Folk Orchestra and Mrs. Santa Claus (6:45 to 7:45 p.m.) Other acts will perform next weekend. Although timed to entertain Music Center patrons, the free wonderland is open to everyone. Information: (213) 972-7567.
Holiday Singing and Dancing--Heritage Square in Highland Park offers hot cider and holiday music to visitors this weekend. The Antique Academy of Genteel Dance will perform social dances of the 19th Century (Virginia reel, square and contra dancing) today at noon and 2 p.m. The costumed dancers will invite intrepid souls in the audience to participate. Sunday, the Bello Canto Christmas Carolers, in Dickensian costumes, will stroll the park and serenade passers-by. Hale House will be decorated in high Victorian style and free cider will be available at the gift shop. Heritage Square is at 3800 Homer St., off the Avenue 43 exit of the Pasadena Freeway. Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for children 7 through 12, younger children free. Information: (213) 222-2771.
Send items at least two weeks in advance to Family Spots, View Section, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Phone calls will not be accepted.