Ring of Lights Home Decorating Contest Lights Up the Harbor

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Shirley Pepys’ penguin-themed home on S. Bayfront. File photo by Charles Weinberg ©

Two things you can always count on in Newport Beach every December: the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, and the Ring of Lights Home Decorating Contest.

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the Christmas Boat Parade, canceled the event this year out of safety concerns for the large crowds that normally gather along the parade route (we’re talking hundreds of thousands of people).

However, the Ring of Lights will still shine bright this holiday season.

“Although the Ring of Lights contest doesn’t have the long history that the Boat Parade enjoys, it has become very much a part of the Newport Beach holiday tradition,” noted Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President Steve Rosansky.

Ring of Lights decorations

The event is hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the organizers of the annual Parade. Homeowners around the harbor who decorate their homes and enter will be judged by a panel of judges and be eligible to win awards in various categories.

According to Ring of Lights chair Joe Stapleton, who was recently honored as the Newport Beach Citizen of the Year, he looks forward to the event each year.

“It is truly amazing how creative and over the top people can be with their decorations,” he stated. “Our team of judges are excited about what we will see this year, especially from some of our first timers.”

“According to Rosansky, among first time entrants this year is the home of Todd and Kelly Roberts that fronts the bay off of East Balboa Blvd.

“We just wanted to help spread some Christmas cheer this year,” said Todd. “We are decorating the whole park next to our house, including a 40-foot tree on top of the house, Santa’s sleigh being pulled by dolphins, a snow machine, and more.”

One of the many homes participating in the Ring of Lights home decorating contest, hosted by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Commodore’s Club. File photo by Charles Weinberg ©

Todd has also constructed different themed windows featuring a toy factory, the Elf movie and other festive holiday scenes.

Another first time entry this year is Darcy Marshal on South Bay Front. She is constructing a new home on four lots. The home is not complete but Marshal is decorating the home with a massive tree of lights on the roof, palm trees outlined with lights and other decorations.

“We just thought it was an especially good year to spread some joy…and maybe we will win an award,” said Marshal.

Dennis and Patti Vitarelli are regular Ring of Lights entrants. Their home on South Bayfront features a massive Gingerbread House.

“We love seeing kids and families taking pictures in front of it for the holidays,” said Dennis. “The decorated homes really help the whole bay come alive. Balboa Island is such a great place to live, we want to show some holiday spirit.”

Dennis Vitarelli’s S. Bay Front house all lit up. — File Photo by Charles Weinberg ©

Ring of Lights judging will take place on Monday, Dec. 14, with the winners announced shortly thereafter. Photos of the winning homes will be available on the official web site at http://www.christmasboatparade.com.

Homeowners are encouraged to register their home by Dec. 11. The registration fee is $35, and a portion of the proceeds are being donated to five local charities. For more information and to register, please contact the Chamber at (949) 729-4400 or visit https://www.christmasboatparade.com/ring-of-lights-entry-form/.

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