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Coastal O.C. celebrates Independence Day in color and spectacle

Old Glory Boat Parade judges wave.
Old Glory Boat Parade judges wave to the boat contestants during the Old Glory Fourth of July Boat Parade, sponsored by the American Legion Yacht Club, at the Newport Harbor in Newport Beach.
(James Carbone)

While fireworks burst in the air, the American flag waved as coastal Orange County communities celebrated the Fourth of July.

Dozens of boats sailed through Newport Harbor on Monday as part of the Old Glory Boat Parade, an event sponsored annually by the American Legion Yacht Club. Boats were decked out in patriotic banners and colors, and Old Glory flew high overhead for the country’s 246th birthday. Some participants wore flag memorabilia while at least one vessel boasted its own living, breathing Statue of Liberty.

A woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty waves during the Old Glory Fourth of July Boat Parade.
A woman dressed as the Statue of Liberty waves during the Old Glory Fourth of July Boat Parade, sponsored by the American Legion Yacht Club, at the Newport Harbor in Newport Beach.
(James Carbone)

The parade, a longstanding local tradition, originated during the 1950s.

The American Legion Yacht Club took over the event, which used to be called the “Newport Harbor Character Boat Parade,” in 1992 and gave it a patriotic theme.

Officials at the organization said the parade is one of the longest-running patriotic boat parades in the state. This year’s theme was “America, the Beautiful.”

Guests watch the firework show during Independence Day.
Guests watch the firework show during Independence Day on the Back Bay Fourth of July celebration, at the Newport Dunes Waterfront & Marina in Newport Beach.
(James Carbone)

After onlookers witnessed the spectacle Monday afternoon, dozens more looked to the skies that night at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort & Marina, where a city-sponsored fireworks show took place to conclude a day’s worth of festivities at the resort that included an inflatable water park and food trucks.

But Newport Beach wasn’t the only city with fireworks.

Huntington Beach Pier hosted another display, the culmination of a days-long festival in its plaza. Rides and concessions operated through the night. Along with the festival and fireworks, the city and its residents marked the occasion with a parade and a 5K run/walk that took place early Monday morning.

And in Costa Mesa, activities kicked off by Sunday at the OC Fair & Event Center, where residents and visitors turned up in droves to see the free fireworks show and listen to live music.

Guests watch and dance to the firework show during the Independence Day Community Celebration.
Guests watch and dance to the firework show during the Independence Day Community Celebration presented by Costa Mesa at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa.
(James Carbone)

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