(WRCB) - Hundreds of people will gather along the banks of the Tennessee River Friday night to take part in a uniquely-Chattanoogan holiday event.

The Lighted Boat Parade officially kicks off holiday season in Chattanooga, with several dozen vessels decorated for the season.

Just preceding the appearance of the boats, 300 candle lanterns will be released on the water, which will glow as they make their way down the river and lead off this celebration of lights on the water.

Between 25 and 40 large and small boats are anticipated to be decorated for the season and parading on the Tennessee River in front of Ross's Landing. Channel 3's Jonquil Newland will serve as the Mistress of Ceremonies, introducing each of the floating floats.

During the parade, spirits will be warmed with community caroling led by Santa, hot drinks and kettle corn, and a live Nativity scene from First Baptist Soddy Daisy.

Free to the public, this event attracts a large family audience (spreading out across the bridges and surrounding park areas).

That evening also signals the lighting of more than 130 downtown buildings, bridges and parks for the winter season, including the large Christmas tree located on the Chattanooga Green at Ross's Landing.

The parade begins at 7:00 p.m. ET, Friday.