Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Canceled

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Even Santa can’t stop The Grinch from striking again–this time in Newport Harbor.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has made the decision to cancel this year’s 112th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. The Chamber consulted with City of Newport Beach officials, Parade committee members, Chamber Commodores Club, the Chamber Board of Directors, and health professionals in making this decision to cancel the parade due to the impact of COVID-19. It’s the first time in decades the Christmas Boat Parade has been canceled.

According to a press release sent by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the organizer of the parade, “we realize this decision has impacts on many levels for our sponsors, businesses, residents, visitors to our community and especially our dedicated boat owners and home participants. It is one of the most cherished traditions in Newport Beach, relying upon hundreds of donated volunteer hours and expertise and has become a signature event in Southern California.”

Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill recognized the difficult decision by the Chamber to cancel the Parade this year, stating “I know how much the tradition of the Boat Parade means to the Chamber, the residents, business owners, and visitors to the City. Even so, the Chamber is to be commended for their leadership and sacrifice. I look forward to a bigger and better celebration in 2021.”

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steven Rosansky explained that “It was our hope that conditions would improve or at least remain static. However, looking at what is happening across the country, as well as in our own backyard, that is simply not the case. Governor Newsom made it clear at his recent press conference that conditions are worsening across the State of California and that we need to put on the “emergency brake” to slow the spread of coronavirus.”

Shirley Pepys’ home on Balboa Island, Christmas 2016

But there is a bright spot—make that many bright spots and lights: the Christmas Boat Parade’s sister event, The Ring of Lights home decorating contest, will still go forward.  Homeowners around the harbor who decorate their homes and enter will still be judged and eligible to win in a number of categories. The winners will be announced on December 15. For more information on how to enter the Ring of Lights, visit

Marie Case, Skipper of the Commodores Club, thanked the boaters who signed up for the parade and the volunteers that already invested their time in this year’s parade.

“The spirit of our Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade tradition will be felt this year as lights shine for the holiday season around the harbor and will shine even more brightly in 2021,” said Case.

For more information, please contact the Chamber at (949) 729-4400 or visit

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