Christmas Boat Parade Sails Into Harbor for 111th Year

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The route for the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade (click to enlarge)

More than a million people will watch beautifully decorated yachts, boats, kayaks and canoes sail around Newport Harbor next week in the 111th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.

The nationally-recognized annual event, hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, will return Dec. 18–22.

Commodores Larry Smith of Surterre Properties and David Beek of Island Marine Fuel and the Balboa Island Ferry are co-chairs for this year’s parade.

“The holidays shine brighter in Newport Beach and it promises to be another spectacular year for the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade,” Smith and Beek wrote in a message on the parade website. The parade and the accompanying house decorating contest, Ring of Lights, “continue to be a highlight of the aspirational Newport Beach lifestyle.”

It’s a huge undertaking and a “labor of love” for everyone who participates, the co-chairs agreed. It results in a significant positive financial impact on the city, they continued, measured in the millions of dollars, especially to its restaurants, hotels and charters in terms of tourism, hospitality and business during the holiday season.

“Our Christmas Boat Parade has become an honored tradition for over one hundred years now, and it just keep getting bigger and more spectacular,” President and CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Steve Rosansky said in a prepared statement. “We have a terrific line-up of Grand Marshals, fireworks for our opening and closing nights, and millions of sparkling lights across our beautiful harbor.”

From sports all-stars to local heroes, the grand marshals have been bestowed the honor as they represent the best of their fields and community spirit, according to boat parade officials.

Vessels decorated with lights sail by during a previous year’s Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade.
— Photo by Jim Collins ©

On Wednesday, the parade’s kickoff night, star of HGTV’s “Christina on the Coast” and “Flip or Flop” Christina Anstead will serve as the grand marshal.

“The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade has been part of our family holiday tradition for years,” Anstead in a prepared statement. “Now my family and I call Newport Beach our home, it’s a full circle moment to serve as grand marshal of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade this year and share this memorable moment with my family and friends.”

On opening night, she will preside on the boat parade’s grand marshal boat, visible to paradegoers on the 14-mile route via the vessel’s deck-to-sail LED screen.

On Thursday, NB Chamber’s Citizen of the Year Nancy Gardner and Businessperson of the Year Jim Walker will lead the parade as grand marshals.

On Dec. 20, The Young Americans, a nonprofit group that uses music, dance, and performance to promote understanding and goodwill, will take the helm.

Hometown heroes will be honored as the grand marshals on Dec. 21. The local heroes will include Newport Beach Police Officer of the Year John Miller; Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis; Firefighter of the Year Bobby Salerno; Lifeguard Supervisor of the Year Adam Yacenda; Seasonal Lifeguard of the Year Carly Christian; and Civilian of the Year Raymi Wun.

On closing night, Dec. 22, the Corona del Mar High School drum line, accompanied by Stan Frazier, the drummer and principal songwriter for the band Sugar Ray and co‐owner of Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store in Newport Beach, will serve in the position.

The parade will start and end near the tip of Lido Isle. The parade will begin at approximately 6:30 p.m. each night.

It will open with a fireworks show, sponsored by the city, launched from the Newport Pier at approximately 6:15 p.m. On the final night, another fireworks show will be launched from the Balboa Pier at approximately 9 p.m., courtesy of the city’s Chamber of Commerce.

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