Newport’s Leading Lights

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It’s December in Newport Beach and that means it’s time for our 102nd Annual Christmas Boat Parade.

Let it be known: I love the Christmas Boat Parade. I also love that fact that I’m part of the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the group responsible for putting on the parade.

Monday night I joined a number of Commodores to judge the Ring of Lights. The instrumental guy behind that effort is Duncan Forgey, a fellow Commodore, a real estate agent for Prudential California real estate and a golfing buddy of mine.

OK, he can’t putt, but he’s still a decent guy.

At his suggestion, Duncan and Prudential California jointly got behind the Ring of Lights effort a number of years ago. Their thought was to highlight and then recognize the beautifully decorated homes that surround our bay and add to the backdrop of our nationally recognized parade.

So there I was Monday, looking at perhaps some of the best homes ever decorated on our waters.

Let me start with Phil and Mary Lyons. They have the lighthouse home on Harbor Island.

Enough said.

That home is as beautiful as any home on our bay and with their lights of Christmas it is even more spectacular.

The Lyons haven’t let anybody down this year. They won this year’s Sweepstakes Award.

And to be honest, it wasn’t even close.

Other phenomenal homes included the Wassall-Kellys’, who every year decorate every inch of their home and their deck, all the way out to their tugboat. They’re on Edgewater on the Peninsula and they’re this year’s Best Lights winner.

Jim and Peggy Rich have to be Southern California Edison’s greatest residential customer. You’d know the Riches, they’re on the main bayfront of Balboa Island and have the reindeer circling their roof, in addition to their million lights.

You think I’m kidding, I would challenge anyone to count them.

If there’s a new string of lights available, I assure you, they have it.

Bill and Maria Uncapher have one of the best traditional gingerbread houses ever decorated on our bay. They’re on Little Island, just down from the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club. They are the Chairman’s Choice winner.

Another house was so good that it won without even being on the bayfront. Greg and Loretta Zimmerman have a home on Sapphire on Balboa Island that produced falling snow and Christmas music computer-choreographed to their light decorations.


To see all of the Christmas Boat Parade Ring of Lights winners go to

And tonight, if you haven’t seen the parade, you’re in for some excitement. There are newly decorated boats on the harbor that have taken the parade to perhaps its highest level ever.

So get out and enjoy our parade spectacular.

Our boat owners and bay residents have gone out of their way to make you proud.

The parade runs through Sunday night.





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