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Dusk falls and 57 LED holiday trees light up Newport Dunes lagoon through Dec. 31

The Newport Dunes lagoon became a holiday light destination with the annual Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
(Susan Hoffman)

The 57 LED holiday trees lit up the lagoon at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort in a magical way Friday night. The 25th annual Lighting of the Bay delighted visitors, even though its usual pre-pandemic opening night festivities had to be foregone this year.

“Coming into 2021 with the timing, we were not able to produce the event along with [the traditional tree lighting], but we still wanted people to enjoy lights,” said General Manager Phil Ravenna.

The Frager family from Cerritos enjoyed the floating LED lit Christmas trees at Newport Dunes on Friday night.
The Frager family from Cerritos enjoyed the floating LED lit Christmas trees on Friday night during the annual Lighting of the Bay at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort.
(Susan Hoffman)

“People can walk around the promenade, grab a snack or hot drink at Moe B’s Munchies, pick up a package of s’mores at the market and enjoy the fire pits.”

Ravenna explained that the Lighting of the Bay began 25 years ago with 12 trees. There were two barges each with one 15-foot tree, and 10 with 10-foot tall free-floating trees.

The Newport Dunes lagoon became a holiday light destination with 57 floating trees for the Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
The Newport Dunes lagoon became a holiday light destination with 57 floating trees for the annual Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
(Susan Hoffman)

Today there are 57 trees, ranging in size from 10 feet tall to 55 feet tall. They are constructed out of metal tubing and cable to string the lights on. Each is atop a wood base float device and all are connected to controls that create a little dance-like movement.

“It’s a large build for us, which we do each year beginning in mid September,” said Ravenna. “Everything is individually anchored to look like free floating holiday living LED scenes.”

General manager of Newport Dunes & Waterfront Resort, Phil Ravenna, and wife Sandy at the Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
General manager of Newport Dunes & Waterfront Resort, Phil Ravenna, with wife Sandy kicks off the Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
(Susan Hoffman)

The floating light displays in the lagoon begin at dusk each night from now through Dec. 31. Ravenna noted the size of the crowds builds each night as Christmas and New Year’s Eve draw closer.

Kea Robb, 9, with brother Kam, 5, attend the Newport Dunes & Waterfront Resort Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
Kea Robb, 9, with brother Kam, 5, dressed up for an evening out, posing in front of a giant inflated Snoopy snow globe as part of the Newport Dunes & Waterfront Resort Lighting of the Bay on Friday.
(Susan Hoffman)

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, Newport Dunes officials estimated 8,000 to 9,000 visitors took in the display each holiday season. Last year, the attendance dropped to about one-third of previous years and that more modest head count is expected to be repeated this season because the coronavirus is still a concern. Ravenna said the 2022 holiday season should return to the pre-pandemic holiday numbers with 1,000 to 1,200 visitors on opening night alone.

Newport Dunes is located at 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach.

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