The first week in December, I dropped by Amber Marine to see owner Brad Menet and make arrangements to service the 70 horsepower Evinrude that powers the 46 year old Glaspar christened the Judy Belle.
This gave us time to plan decorations for our classic vessel which is entered in this week’s Christmas Boat Parade.
We’ve known Brad for decades, and I’m the second generation of Barrett that he’s worked for. He invited me to the December 6 meeting of the Antique Outboard Motor Club-Southern California Chapter luncheon.
This bunch of mostly classic members, (50 years old or more), and their outboard motors of the same vintage, couldn’t have been nicer. President Paul Brinkman, Jr., mentioned one of his motors was the first Evinrude outboard motor sold in Los Angeles (manufactured in 1908). The enthusiasm these guys share remind me of the classic wooden yachts of antique boat shows we’ve had in years past throughout Newport Harbor.
The now-defunct Newport Harbor Nautical Museum used to hold an annual antique wooden boat show. Yachts cruised in from Marina del Rey, San Francisco and Washington State. These restored yachts have the care and love as if they were family members. This event would be an asset to the community if restarted as an annual event.
The Christmas Boat Parade is in full swing as you read this. Hundreds of thousands of onlookers make the annual pilgrimage to our harbor to share in our nautical Christmas event. The fun of being in the parade is greeting the kids and families wishing Merry Christmas from their residential docks and the homes decked out with hundreds of lights and ornaments.
While the care and preparation on the yachts are immense, the bay front homes are just as impressive, and the excitement of the children on the docks is contagious and ensures a good time is had by all.
I’ve been skippering in this parade since the 60s, and this event always starts my Christmas spirit. Sharing this event with friends and family is a tradition I look forward to every year.
I also enjoy observing the families in scores of small boats from eight-foot inflatables to 20-footers that have the same fun and pleasure of the much larger yachts.
This harbor was constructed for all of the public to enjoy, and during this parade that is exactly what transpires.
God Bless America and Newport Harbor!