On December 14th, the 108th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade – which runs for five consecutive nights through December 18th – kicked off in the Commodore Room at the local Balboa Bay Resort. Hosted by The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the 14-mile extravaganza, encircled by a “Ring of Lights” of participating residences, begins each evening on Bay Island at 6:30 pm before ending in the same spot at 9 pm. Suffice it to say, the course marks a splendid and historic occasion that is celebrated yearly by Newport Beach’s political luminaries.
Among the municipality’s dignitaries who spoke glowingly about the boat parade, duly recognizing the participatory scope of the long-standing tradition, was Steve Rosansky, President and CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Rosansky, who was courteous and congratulatory, said, “Many thanks to all for their enthusiastic and festive spirit, including the scores of Newport Beach homeowners participating in the ‘Ring of Lights’ competition.”
Even better, as a result of the city’s partnership with the Disneyland Resort, Mickey Mouse was on hand to be introduced as the opening-night Grand Marshal (other Grand Marshals include four SoCal gold and silver medalists, such as Misty May-Treanor, who divided their noble duties on the 15th; and former contestants from “The Voice,” first responders representing Newport Beach, and members of the USC Trojan Marching Band, who will share the honor on the 16th, 17th, and 18th, respectively).
Seeing Mickey live with his infectious vivacity awed the brand-new mayor of Newport Beach, Kevin Muldoon, who couldn’t help but be elated about seeing the Disney icon appear in person to accept the distinction.
“Mickey makes a wonderful Grand Marshal – because of his message of being generous, and seeing only the good within each person,” remarked Muldoon.
And naturally, because of Mickey Mouse’s positive impact on children throughout the world since 1928, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has graciously made a significant donation to, and united with, the American Childhood Cancer Organization. Inclusive of this heartfelt partnership is the 23-foot-high National Childhood Awareness Tree – which pays homage to the fallen little souls with gold ribbons – that will be situated in Marina Park for the very first time.
Certainly, the main attractions magnetizing all of the charity and wonderful positivity were the fireworks and of course the boat parade (the combination of which is also scheduled for closing night). The pyrotechnics display lit up the Orange County sky with a cornucopia of dazzling colors and was heartily enjoyed by onlookers along the coast. And as ephemeral as it was, the tableau of this as it unfolded was reminiscent of a romanticism akin to “The Great Gatsby.”
The parade, from the moment it was signalled to begin by Coast Guard boats, compelled hoots and hollers out of the merry throngs, who were agog with their camera phones in hand to chronicle the spectacle. Though all of the yachts, boats, canoes, dinghies, kayaks and more (numbering 100) were notable in their own way, there were a few standouts on the 14th that earned well-deserved admiration. One – as it was appropriately called – was “Jurassic Christmas,” a tropical LED dinosaur pastiche of a grandiose scale that even had the outline of a volcano alluding perhaps to the eventual demise of the prehistoric giants.
Not to mention, there was the apropos “Main Street Electrical Parade” boat – a worthy entry on the night of Mickey’s Grand Marshal appointment, which elicited excited cries of nostalgia from those who saw their childhood appear before them in the waves of ocean water.
Lastly, as per Christmas custom, there were a bevy of boats that toasted Saint Nick, a.k.a. Santa Claus, showing reverence toward the jolly legend in the form of a gargantuan air-blown doll, the head of which nearly touched the dazzling dark sky; and via another which included Kris Kringle himself, who cheerfully greeted the inspired observers alongside the harbor.
The sight of this underscored an insightful comment that Co-Chairman of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, David Beek, made earlier in the night when he said, “Even through the advent of LED lighting, and beautiful technology with all of its amazing possibilities, Santa Claus is still the most popular.”
For more information about the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, visit christmasboatparade.com