Annual Lighting of the Bay at Newport Dunes Kicks Off Holiday Celebrations in Newport Beach

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Lighting of the Bay – photo by Chris Trela

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort kicks off the holiday season in Newport Beach with the 32nd annual Lighting of the Bay that starts Friday, Nov. 25 and continues nightly through New Year’s Day.

On November 25 from 4 to 9 p.m., the opening night festivities include live musical performances, stocking decorating, holiday photo booths, and of course Santa Claus, who will flip the magic switch at dusk to illuminate the bay with more than 50 floating holiday decorations and Christmas trees.

Bring blankets and beach chairs for an outdoor movie screening of a holiday favorite, “Elf.” Food and beverages will be available for purchase.

The November 25 event is free; parking is $10.

Newport Dunes will also have a Christmas tree lot with trees trucked down from Oregon. These trees are reportedly handpicked and delivered within 16 hours of being cut, given a second cut upon arrival, and immediately placed in stands with fresh water. Fresh wreaths and garlands are also available for purchase.

The tree lot will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through December 24.

Visit www.newportdunes.com for more information.

Winter Fest OC Returns Nov. 25 – Jan. 1

Winter comes early this year thanks to Winter Fest OC, which returns to the OC Fair & Event Center (just over the Newport Beach border) November 25 through January 1.

Billed as Southern California’s largest winter festival, Winter Fest was on hiatus for two years (although they did produce the Night of Lights OC drive-through holiday experience last December) but returns bigger and better than ever with oversized holiday decor, more than a million lights, winter-themed activities, a holiday market, and seasonal food and drinks.

New for 2022 is “North Pole Journey,” an immersive walk-through experience that guides guests to the North Pole Village on an important mission to meet Santa Claus and save the holidays.

Other activities include an outdoor ice-skating rink, a nine-lane 150-foot-long ice tubing slide, ice bumper cars, LED mini golf, trackless train rides, a snowboard simulator, and carnival games and rides.

Also returning are winter-themed bounce houses, an arts and crafts area, stage and strolling entertainment, tribute bands, and more, and unique winter-themed photo opportunities with the 30-foot-tall giant walk-through ornament.

“We are so excited to bring Winter and Holiday magic back to the OC and celebrate being together again with our reimagined winter wonderland festival,” said Katrina Carlson, executive producer of Winter Fest OC. “This year, we’re bringing an all-new event with the most popular activities of Winter Fest OC and even more fun for kids and adults alike, including new ice attractions, performances, food and drinks, shopping, and much more. Plus, the immersive favorites from the last two years of our wildly successful Night of Lights OC production will be integrated into the new ‘North Pole Journey’ walk-through experience.”

General admission tickets include the new “North Pole Journey” immersive walk-through experience, stage and strolling entertainment, nightly Holiday celebration, plus unique photo opportunities throughout Winter Fest OC. Other select attractions require an add-on ticket or reservation. Parking is $10.

Visit www.WinterFestOC.com to see all pricing information, including season passes.

Christmas Walk photo by Lawrence Sherwin

Corona del Mar Christmas Walk Returns Sunday, Dec. 4

The Annual Corona del Mar Christmas Walk returns Sunday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This popular community event has been celebrating the merchants and restaurants of Corona del Mar for more than 40 years. Thousands of people are expected to descend on the sidewalks along Coast Highway to enjoy live entertainment by more than a dozen local bands, Santa Claus, beer and wine gardens, unique gifts, children’s activities, and merchant and restaurant promotions.

Christmas Walk exhibit spaces are still available. Become an exhibiting vendor on event day and promote your product or service. All business industries are showcased including arts and crafts, jewelry, business services, medical/health, and many others.

No community event can be successful without volunteers, including the Christmas Walk.

Volunteer shifts at the Christmas Walk are fun and a great way to meet new people while being a part of a dedicated team presenting the day’s activities. Various volunteer positions for all ages are available.

The Christmas Walk benefits the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots Program and is presented by the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce. Visit www.cdmchamber.com for more information.

Stockings, including two hand-stitched designs, hang over the fireplace at a Collins Avenue home included in the Annual Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour in 2018 / Photo by Sara Hall ©

Balboa Island Holiday Home Tour Dec. 11

The 24th Annual Balboa Island Holiday Home Walking Tour will be held on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tour eight tastefully decorated island homes and cottages at your leisure.

Tickets are $40 and available for purchase online at www.balboaislandnb.org. They will also be available at Balboa Island Museum, Crush Clothing and Sur Le Mer, all located on Marine Avenue on Balboa Island.

Tickets may also be purchased at Bliss Home Design in Corona del Mar, Blue Springs Home on 17th Street in Costa Mesa, and Seaside Gallery & Goods on Tustin Avenue in Newport Beach.

Will Call Tickets will be available to purchase and pick up at the Balboa Island Museum at 210 Marine Ave. starting at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the Home Tour.

Christmas Boat Parade perennial winner The Last Hurrah / NB Indy file photo

Christmas Boat Parade December 14-18

The 114th edition of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is expected to have more than 100 decorated boats of all sizes navigate their way around Newport Harbor beginning at 6:30 p.m. each night from the tip of Lido Isle.

Parade participants will start from the east end of Lido Island and make their way along the shore of Balboa Peninsula past Marina Park and then across the harbor, around Balboa Island, and then along Coast Highway back to Lido Island.

Residents and visitors will have optimal viewing of the beautifully decorated yachts from myriad vantage points to watch the parade including Marina Park, Balboa Island, and the numerous restaurants along the parade route.

Marina Park at 1600 W. Balboa Blvd, is the largest public viewing location on the parade route. On opening night, Marina Park hosts an opening ceremony, front-row parade viewing and the annual Holiday Market in partnership with Creative Communal. The Holiday Market will feature over 35 local makers, food vendors, live music, entertainment, photo ops and kids activities.

The Opening Night event starts at 4 p.m. The parade sails by Marina Park at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The boat parade features a firework display from the Newport Pier at 6:15 p.m. on opening night and from the Balboa Pier at 9 p.m. on closing night.

Visit www.christmasboatparade.com for more information.

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