Happy 100th, Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade!

Surfing, swimming, sunning -- whatever we're doing here, we're often doing it near or on the water. That includes marking the holidays, which a lot of us like to do by criss-crossing lights across up our yachts and dinghies and taking them for a colorful cruise around the SoCal harbors. One of the granddaddies of watery displays? That's the Newport Beach spectacular, and this oceany community's annual Christmas Boat Parade is certainly one of the most venerable at 100 years old.

In fact, a million visitors are expected, and any mathematician who counts Christmas lights (hey, maybe that's a viable job) would figure there's way over that number strung around the boats on display. But it goes way beyond stringing lights. Many of the ships are themed, the crews are in costume and the effects simply wow.

Starting at Bay Island at 6:30PM each night, the parade will drift grandly past all of the restaurants and beaches lining the harbor; it will then make its way back to Bay Island by 9PM. If you're outside, dress warmly, and if you're inside, bravo; seats at eateries are coveted, and, even if you don't have a window view, the feeling should be festive.

We like that all the applause-garnering action isn't on the water; many of the land-dwelling buildings around Newport Beach gussy up with Santa-centered decorations, too. Over these five nights, this OC burg gives even the North Pole a run for its money. (Does the North Pole even have money? Or perhaps the elves barter in toys...)

100th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade
December 17-21, 6:30-9PM nightly
Newport Harbor, located along Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach (see site for further directions and viewing areas)

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