Happy 101st, Newport Boat Parade

A famous parade cruises into its second century.

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce

Let's see. On our 101st birthday, we think we'll just have a few friends over, do some cake, watch a movie or two.

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is not taking quite the relaxed route. As it has for the last century and a year, the watery extravaganza will cruise along the waterfront of the Newport area for five nights. 2009 dates: Wednesday, December 16th through Sunday, December 20th.

Five nights. Now that is festive.

And, it is not surprise really, that this famous annual event spreads over the better part of a week. A million visitors are expected for the 2009 parade, 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.

Should we mention that the 2009 theme is "The Joy of Christmas Toys"? We probably should.

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...)

The location is Newport Harbor, located along Newport Boulevard in Newport Beach (see site for further directions and viewing areas). 949-729-4400

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