Waterskiing Santa started as a dare among a group of friends. The year was 1986 and they got a crazy idea—that one of them should dress up as Santa Claus and waterski atop the chilly waters of the Potomac River. The friend who drew the short straw fulfilled his duty on December 24th of that year. The friends had so much fun with their new wacky holiday tradition that they decided to do it again in 1987—and that year, a local news crew filmed them.
The public caught wind of the newly minted holiday tradition and started gathering to watch it. Now more than three decades later, they continue to do so. Though the event went virtual last year due to the pandemic, it’s returning to the original in-person format this year! Gather with other spectators along the Old Town Alexandria waterfront on December 24th to watch Santa waterski by—you might even get a wave if he’s feeling particularly confident! He usually begins his watertop trek at Founders Park and rides the waves down to Point Lumley Park. Then he and Mrs. Claus meet and greet kiddos at Waterfront Park, posing for photo ops and listening patiently to gift requests.