The 105th edition of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade kicks off tonight in front of tens of thousands of spectators. Decorated with lights and Christmas ornaments, the boats follow a circular path from Newport Pavilion to each end of the harbor and return.
Many of the boats will be playing holiday music, and it is not unusual for the passengers to be caroling as the boats follow the parade route harbor. The parade boats are often accompanied by an equal number of non-entries weaving about the harbor.
In addition to the boats lighting up the harbor, most houses along the waterfront are also decorated. The boats and the houses have an opportunity to enter into an awards program. Both the boats and waterfront homes entering the competition end up spending large sums of money to show off the Christmas spirit.
For people not able to view the whole spectacle from the water, there are numerous shoreside locations which offer wonderful views of the boats moving through the harbor. Some of the best are along Balboa Island waterfront and along street-ends on Balboa Peninsula.
In all situations, it's important to arrive early. Parking is at a premium, and arriving much later than 5:30 PM to any area usually means having to walk over a mile to a good viewing area.
During the parade, look for signs on the boats. Award winners will have the Award Banners indicating the prize won.
If you are not full of the Christmas spirit, you will be after watching the parade.
The parade runs from today until December 22, starting at 6:30 PM and runs until approximately 9:30 PM.