One of my fondest memories about the holiday season growing up was that every year we would go on the Tour of Lights, where my family would drive all over the city to see the best of the best in holiday light decorations. In Newport Beach, CA, they’ve kicked things up a notch, and host the country’s oldest boat parade of lights, where people decorate everything from canoes to million dollar yachts with beautiful twinkling lights, animated scenes, and costumed carolers!
COUNTRY’S OLDEST AWARD-WINNING BOAT PARADE OF LIGHTS IN NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIACritically Acclaimed Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade To Set Sail In Newport Harbor December 14 – 18, 2011
Join nearly a million viewers as they watch over 200 stunningly decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail along the harbor in the 103rd Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. The “Boat Parade” will set the harbor ablaze for five consecutive nights, beginning Wednesday, December 14 and ending Sunday, December 18, 2011, and is hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Locals and visitors are invited to attend this free, family-friendly event to celebrate the year as the parade features the theme “Feelin’ Christmas-Sea in Newport Beach!”
The Christmas Boat Parade has been hailed as “One of the Top Ten Holiday Happenings in the Nation” by the New York Times, and voted “#7 of the World’s Best Holiday Lights” by Frommer’s. Competitors include beautiful multi-million dollar yachts and sail boats, to simple kayaks, canoes and other small boats. All of them will be richly decorated, some with animated Holiday scenes, and others accompanied by music and costumed carolers. This event attracts competitors of all stripes, with some owners spending over $50,000 to decorate their vessels for this one event.
The dazzlingly illuminated vessels float in line along a 14-mile route around the Newport Harbor and offer viewers in restaurants, yacht clubs, on public beaches, and in private homes an incredible sight that has delighted millions of people for over a century. For first timers, a great place to view the parade is at the Fun Zone on the Balboa Peninsula. Admission is FREE and there is plenty of nearby parking. Additionally from the Fun Zone, the voice of the parade, Captain Mike Whitehead, will be offering lively commentary from the Explore Ocean – Newport Harbor Nautical Museum.
Serving as the backdrop for the hundreds of lighted boats in the parade is the annual “Ring of Lights” contest, hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Beautifully decorated bayside homes and businesses surrounding the harbor go “all out” with their own holiday spirit, featuring everything from roof-top animated scenes to dancing Christmas trees. With its own judged categories and prizes awarded, the “Ring of Lights” has become as celebrated as the boat parade itself.
On the final night of the parade, Sunday, December 18, a special fireworks display will close out the parade. Beginning at approximately 9:00 pm, the fireworks will be visible from all around the harbor, being launched from the Balboa Pier. Special thanks to Ruby’s Balboa Pier for closing early to allow for the fireworks show.
Awards Dinner and Auction
Both the Boat Parade and the Ring of Lights competitions culminate at the annual Awards Dinner & Auction to be held on January 27, 2012 at the Balboa Bay Club. Open to the public, this gala event will honor award winners from both competitions. Additionally, the party will feature live entertainment, dancing and an incredible live and silent auction.
The event is presented by Simple Green, Meguiar’s and the City of Newport Beach, hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, and is partnership between various community and civic entities, including Visit Newport Beach, Inc. and event sponsors.
For more information about the parade or auction, or to request information about viewing areas, restaurants and boat charter companies just visit www.christmasboatparade.com