Lights on for boat parade

It's been around longer than the Rockefeller Center's tree lighting and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Among Newport Beach's signature events, this is one of those people plan their vacations around.

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade lights up the harbor for the 102nd consecutive year Wednesday, concluding on Dec. 19 with a fireworks show at 9 p.m.

This year's theme, "Lights, Camera…Christmas in Newport Beach," celebrates the city and parade's cinematic history.

Ask longtime residents for their memories from the event, and you're bound to hear someone recall seeing John Wayne aboard the Wild Goose, waving to revelers on the shore. Even out-of-towners have caught glimpses of celebrities in the past, such as Buddy Ebsen of "The Beverly Hillbillies" fame who joined the floating parade.

As always, parade boats are expected to be as eclectic as cinema itself, with some aiming for humor and cleverness, others for simplistic beauty, and some shooting for grand, epic setups intended to awe the crowd.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce is the force behind the event and gives awards in several categories for participants. For land-lovers there's the Ring of Lights, where homes surrounding Newport Harbor try to outshine each other in elaborate Christmas light decorations.

The Chamber awards homeowners in individual categories for that event as well.

If You Go

What: 102nd Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Where: A 14-mile route through Newport Harbor.

When: 6:30 p.m.


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