Now in its 105th year, the Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is a beloved tradition attracting visitors from miles around. An estimated one million viewers are expected to watch as yachts, kayaks, canoes and a wide range of boats and vessels sail around the harbor as part of this spectacular parade. Presented by the Commodores Club, part of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, this year’s event has a special theme: Rocking Around The Christmas Tree. If you will be staying close to Newport Beach this December, here’s your chance to join in on the fun!
Running for five nights from December 18th through Sunday December 22nd, the parade fills the harbor with lights and colors. The parade starts at Bay Island at 6:30pm and makes a circular looping route which brings it past the thousands of spectators, coming to end back at the starting location around 9pm. People line the harbor walls all around the 14 miles of the route, creating plenty of viewing locations for everyone who attends. Budgets for the decoration of each boat vary wildly, with some owners spending as much as $50,000 in previous years.
The New York Times called the parade one of the “top ten” holiday events in the whole country, meaning it really is not to be missed. Restaurants, beaches, hotels and private houses all overlook the route, involving the whole city. On opening night, Wednesday December 18th, there will be a fireworks display near the Balboa Pier to launch the parade, as well as another closing ceremony of fireworks at the end of the parade at 9pm on the December 22nd.
Vessels entered into the parade are part of the annual competition, celebrating the best decorated boat of the year. The annual Awards Dinner and Auction are being held on January 24th as a full gala event, open to the public. The winners of the Boat Parade competition and the Ring of Light contest will be honoured with live entertainment, music, dancing and the live auction and the silent auction.