Celebrating its 109th year, the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will take place Dec. 13-17, making it one of the longest-running holiday traditions in the country. Home to the world’s largest small-yacht harbor, Newport Beach pays homage to its iconic boating culture through a fleet of wonderfully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes motoring along a 14-mile course.
Hosted by The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the boat parade draws millions of people annually and has become a cherished tradition for residents and visitors alike. For five consecutive nights, the parade will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. at the tip of Lido Isle, which is a new starting point for the parade this year. The parade opens with a sparkling firework display from the Newport Pier at 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 13. Closing out in the same spectacular fashion, there will be special firework show from the Balboa Pier on the final night of the parade at 9:00 p.m. on Dec. 17.
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade began at the turn of the century when John Scarpa, an Italian gondolier; and Joseph Beek, developer of Beacon Bay, the Balboa Ferry Line, and the principal force in the early development of Balboa Island, started the tradition of lighting boats in the harbor. Now in its 109th year, the largest harbor parade in California now features as many as 100 boats. The festively decorated yachts, dinghies and kayaks vie for the top prize in categories including Best Animation/Special Effects, Best Humor/Originality, Best Music, and Best Lights. Winners will then be invited to an award gala and auction January 26, 2018 at Island Hotel Newport Beach.
Serving as the backdrop for the parade is the annual “Ring of Lights” waterfront-decorating contest. A separate competition and a marvel all its own, bayside homes and businesses surrounding the harbor display their Christmas spirit and compete for prizes for the best decorations.
One can enjoy the spectacle from a variety of public viewing locations including numerous waterfront restaurants and the new 10.5-acre Marina Park. The community park offers 177 parking spaces, nautical-themed playground, picnic area and sailing center, and is also the largest public viewing area along the parade route, creating an optimal location to gather and enjoy the festivities. For an up-close view, boat companies offer public and private cruises on the harbor. A full map with all viewing locations and corresponding times can be found online here.
Presenting sponsors of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights are Simple Green, Meguiar’s, Wells Fargo, and the City of Newport Beach, with marketing and promotional support from Newport Beach & Company. For more information about the 109th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, please visitwww.christmasboatparade.com.
Boaters interested in participating in the parade can find out more information at https://www.christmasboatparade.com/enter/.