Threat of boycott doesn’t dim plans for Newport Beach boat parade

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Organizers said they expect the 104th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade to be smooth sailing, despite a threatened boycott from those who oppose increases in the city’s residential dock fees.

‘At the end of the day, the boycott backfired on itself,’ said parade Chairman David Beek. ‘The mentality was boycott the boycott.’

The parade is scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

About 83 boats have signed up to participate, 11 more entries than last year, said Jeff Parker, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce director of operations and communications.


Monday night, about 10 commodores toured the harbor to judge the Ring of Lights home decoration contest, Beek told the Daily Pilot.

‘This year was by far the most spectacular the bay has ever been decorated,’ he said. ‘It was insane. I was expecting people to go off, but nothing like we saw last night.’

Beek said some of the presentations kept to this year’s theme, ‘Surf, Sand and Santa,’ and some homes have their own traditions.

‘The bay is looking beautiful, many houses have decorated, and the parade will be one of our best yet because of weather and participants,’ said Duncan Forgey, who headed the judging.

Pete Pallette, who has been outspoken on behalf of the Stop the Dock Tax group leading the boycott, said it’ll be difficult to quantify its effects, but he plans to keep his home dark.

‘Will we be shutting the community down? No, I don’t think so. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to,’ he said. ‘Personally, I’m going to follow through.’


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Photo: A boat is decked out in Christmas lights for Newport Beach’s annual boat parade in 2011. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times