The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade wouldn't be nearly as exciting if it didn't have Balboa's colorful, brightly lit homes as a backdrop.
Sunday will mark the last night of the 102nd annual parade. Although the parade will boast its own round of winners, the Chamber of Commerce Commodores Club also recognizes the homes that captured the holiday spirit –— whether in lighting or decorations — in the Ring of Lights competition.
On Tuesday, the club announced the 2010 Ring of Lights winners.
This year was the first year with a "Green" category. Maxine Stomber won for her low-wattage LED lighting, which served as an alternative to the traditional electricity-guzzling holiday lights.
"Rather than have a warm look, the (LED) lights look a lot like ice — there's a blue cast to the white," said the "Green" category winner, who moved to Balboa Island from New Canaan, Conn., two years ago.
Gay Wassall-Kelly and her husband, Bill Kelly, were excited for their Best Lights win. However, the couple aren't foreign to local fame. They've won an award every year since they started decorating in 1996.
This year they had a new decorating tactic. Wassall-Kelly found white, web-like netting that she thought would be an interesting look for their 2010 Ring of Lights entry.
She decorated the dock with the webbing at first, then put candy canes wrapped in the netting around the roof, and then made her way to the first and second story of the home.
"It's just so different looking," she said. "We were so excited when we took a look at it from across the bay. We, of course, had to add some more."
When she went to cover the windows, her husband stopped her.
"If I could have more of the netting, we'd have all our windows covered in it," she said. "My husband looks out the windows, so he wouldn't let me."
Wassall-Kelly is also known on the Balboa Peninsula for donning a Christmas Tree suit, all lit up, and sitting on her dock as the boats go by.
"I'm referred to as a 'Naughty Pine,'" she said.
The peninsula residents, who are in their 70s, enjoy being a part of the festivities.
"We just love it," she said. "It just brings smiling faces."
2010 Ring of Lights Winners
Eric and Shirley Pepys, 526 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Penguins and Red Lights
Bob and Marcy Cook, 538 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Bears, Bears and more Bears
Jim and Peggy Rich, 802 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Real Snowmen and Lights galore
Dennis and Patty Vitarelli, 140 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Amazing Collection of Christmas Stuff
Robert and Christyne Olson, 351 E. Bay Front Balboa Island — Christmas Wonderland of Lights
Jim and Kathy Busby, 111 E. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Winterwonderland of Lights
Bruce Fabrizio, 1407 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar — Simply Green and Gorgeous
Carmen Bravo, 337-A E. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Balloon House with Cascading Lights
Bob and Carol Senour, 1000 E. Balboa Blvd., Balboa Island — Whale of a Lot of Fun House
John and Essie Bootsma, 128 Via Lido Nord, Lido Isle — Angels and Lights
Founder's Award: Donna Di Bari, 710 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Wrapped Palm Trees Extraordinaire
"Green" Entry Winner: Maxine Stomber, 810 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island
Chairman's Choice: Bill and Maria Uncapher, 335 E. Bay Front Balboa Island — LED Beautiful White and Blue Lights
Best Lights: Bill Kelly and Gay Wassall-Kelly, Edgewater, Balboa Island — Web of Lights
Photographer's Choice: Greg and Loretta Zimmerman, 327 Sapphire, Balboa Island — Off Water Extravaganza
Best Theme: Sam and Sandy Parker, 1022 E. Balboa Blvd., Balboa Island — Movie Stars and Lights
Rookie Award: Bill and Lori Peterson, 1020 E. Balboa Blvd., Balboa Island
Animation Winner: Ken and Tracy Hurd, 832 Via Lido Nord, Lido Isle
Sweepstakes Winner: Phil and Mary Lyons, 36 Harbor Island, Newport Beach
Best Yacht Club: Balboa Yacht Club