Whimsy on the Water: Lighting of the Bay at Newport Dunes

Snapshots with Santa and other holiday happenings will glimmer at the festivity, which will feature over four dozen floating decorations.

Lighting of the Bay

What to Know

  • Friday, Nov. 25 from 4 to 9 p.m. at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort
  • An "Elf" screening, a children's choir, and Santa turning on the 50 on-the-water decorations
  • Free and open to the public; $10 parking

Water plays such a powerful part in our homespun holiday celebrations.

It ups the much-needed moistness of our favorite treats, it can thin the punch when we're encountering more party guests than expected, and adding some H2O to the base of a fir tree, all to extend the freshness of the celebratory specimen?

That's a common Christmastime practice, too.

But for many people, water and the holidays spectacularly intersect at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, which is where a number of illuminated events take place in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

Southern California's famous boat parades might come instantly to mind, but there is a sparkly spot where over four dozen illuminated tree shapes add oomph to the smooth surface of a bay, providing on-the-shore onlookers with an ethereal and unusual sight.

It's the Lighting of the Bay at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, and the switch will be grandly flipped by Santa himself on Friday, Nov. 25.

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The bright experience is wading into its 32nd year, and, as always, the opening night will feature a host of festive happenings and offerings, including "live musical performances, stocking decorating, holiday photo booths, and more."

If you're planning to visit, do note that there is a fee for parking. Goodies will be available, if you want to sip or snack, so have funds for those, if you so desire.

"Elf" will screen on the beach, just after the lighting, and the popular firepits? They're available on a first-come, first-served basis.

The trees will shimmer nightly through Jan. 1, 2023, if you're in the area of the resort and long to see something a bit magical, that isn't boat-based, out on the water.

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