Written By: Ben Rapaport
The 111th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is sailing its way through Newport Bay this December!
This merry event has been hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce for over a century and attracts millions of viewers each year. Beautiful light displays, exuberant decorations, and a sailing Santa are just some of the festive sights that will be displayed for everyone to see.
Each night, the parade commences at the tip of Lido Isle at approximately 6:30 p.m. and finishes at its return to the same location by 9:00 p.m. — but make sure to arrive early to enjoy the incredible fireworks display over the Newport Pier at 6:15 p.m. on the first night, as well as a second fireworks display on the last night at approximately 9 p.m., marking the conclusion of the parade.
This cherished Newport Beach holiday tradition has brought some boat owners to spend upwards of $50,000 to decorate their extravagant yachts in hopes of being awarded as the best decorated boat. Each boat sailing in the parade is judged, and the winners are announced in January at an annual awards gala. One new competition has recently been introduced into the parade: The Ring of Lights. Bayfront homeowners compete with one another in a lighthearted contest of who has the best-decorated house, adding to the joyful celebration.
Looking for a place to sit back and watch the boats float by? Marina Park is a perfect area to gather with your family and friends. Food booths and live entertainment make this park an optimal viewing location. Another unique way to enjoy the parade is to sail alongside it! Davey’s Locker and other charters will be open for cruises for anyone who is looking to escape the crowd and observe the parade on the water. Thousands come to watch the spectacle each evening, so wherever you choose to view the parade, allow yourself some time to find parking.
The Christmas Boat Parade is an event to remember, and this year’s line up will not disappoint. Be sure to mark your calendars and invite your friends to have a festive-filled night!