Dana Point Harbor Partners makes merry at the marina

The popular “Merry Kiss Me” arch is part of the annual holiday light display hosted by Dana Point Harbor Partners.
(Courtesy of Dana Point Harbor Partners)

The launch of “Holidays at the Harbor” in Dana Point, which includes the 47th annual Boat Parade of Lights, is making the marina merrier this holiday season.

“Dana Point Harbor Partners is thrilled to bring an array of festive events to the Harbor this year,” said Bryon Ward, president of Burnham Ward Properties, which oversees the harbor’s commercial core activities.

Dana Point Harbor Partners is a partnership with Orange County that combines Burnham Ward Properties, Bellwether Financial Group, which guides marina operations, and R.D. Olson Development, which leads the hotel redevelopment of the harbor.

Along with the boat parade on Dec. 9, 10 and 11, visitors can enjoy themed light displays throughout the harbor, photos with Santa and a special Santa Paws event with proceeds supporting the Pet Project Foundation.

More than 700,000 LED lights twinkle in the harbor’s themed light displays that include a giant whale sculpture, lighted palm trees, beach-ball-like ornaments and the popular “Merry Kiss Me” arch leading down a giant candy-cane-lined lane. Dana Point Harbor Partners has also partnered with the Chabad Jewish Center of Dana Point to present a 12-foot Menorah in the Harbor for the duration of Hanukkah from Dec. 18 to 26.

“Dana Point Harbor Partners’ aim is to bring the community a festive season by adding new lighting elements and installations to the Harbor for locals and visitors to enjoy each year,” said Ward. “This year guests can enjoy the larger-than-life ornaments along with other ‘Instagram-worthy’ installations.”


If visitors do snap any ‘Instagram-worthy’ pics, they are invited to tag @danapoint_harbor on Instagram and use the hashtag #HolidaysattheHarbor to be entered in the Dana Point Harbor’s “Holidays at the Harbor” social media contest, running now through Dec. 22. At the end of the campaign, one winner will be randomly chosen for a special Dana Point Harbor package.

On the weekend of Dec. 9, the 47th annual Boat Parade of Lights takes to the seas with a “Surfin’ USA” theme.

The 47th annual Boat Parade of Lights will take place Dec. 9 through 11 in Dana Point Harbor.
(Courtesy of Dana Point Harbor Partners)

“The theme for this year’s annual Boat Parade of Lights pays homage to all of the water-centric activities that are a part of the harbor’s culture, including paddle boarding, surfing, sailing, boating, dolphin and whale-watching,” said Ward.

Vessels of all kinds will be decorated in the theme for the chance to win up to $10,000 in prizes for categories like Best Use of Theme, People’s Choice, Supervisor’s Cup and Mayor’s Cup.

The parade will begin at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 and at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 11.

Santa Claus will visit the harbor on Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. in front of a holiday-themed photo op created by Style My Holiday in Clock Courtyard. Visitors can book professional photos for that day, but the themed photo op will remain up throughout December.

Festivities will return to Clock Courtyard on Dec. 17 and 18 when Pet Project Foundation will host the 10th annual Santa Paws from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pet photos will be offered for a small donation with all proceeds supporting the Pet Project Foundation, a rescue partner and San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter.

“Holidays at the Harbor” has been drawing visitors and locals for years, and Ward said Dana Point Harbor Partners hopes to continue the tradition for years to come.

“‘Holidays at the Harbor’ is a signature event that truly captures the essence of the Dana Point community and will remain an annual tradition for all to enjoy,” said Ward. “We love seeing families come back to visit year after year to take their family photos and enjoy the parade and light displays, as many of them did when they were younger.”

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