Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade returns for 113th run

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — When the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade returns for a 113th run, it’ll be big, bright and convey all the trappings of Newport Beach extravagance.

Last year it was canceled because of the pandemic, but a rogue parade romped about the harbor anyway, flaunting lights and the grandeur of multi-million dollar yachts and the eccentrics who own them.

What You Need To Know

  • The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will go for its 113th run this year
  • The oldest and largest in the county, and renowned nationally, it was canceled last year
  • The parade runs from Dec. 15-19 and goes every day for about three hours
  • The parade often features more than a hundred boats and runs along a 14-mile route

This year the city expects the crowds to return and pack the shores for a more than century-long tradition. 

The boat parade is noted among its kind nationwide. It runs for five days, each parade covering three hours and, often more than 100 boats stretch a mile and a half. Everything from top-of-the-line superyachts to small paddled vessels take the route.

They feature singing carolers, monuments to John Wayne with a flat-screen TV running his films and even one that can shoot fire.

But there’s no telling what will be sliding along Newport Beach harbor this year.

“I don’t ever see the same boat each year. It’s always reimagined each year so it’s always fresh,” said Jessica Roame, the spokesperson for Newport Landing Whale Watching and Sport Fishing. The company helps operate the city-run parade and has already sold out of tickets for its eight boats. From these boats, spectators can get a better look at the procession and view of some of the waterfront properties that have been dressed up for the Christmas season.

“People who saw it as children are now taking their grandchildren to see it,” she said.

Parade operators report that 1.5 million people view the parade each year, coming from all over the state to pack Newport Beach restaurants. 

The parade runs from Dec. 15-19 and kicks off at 6:30 p.m. This year it is hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The largest public viewing area will be at Marina Park, a free gathering place for spectators.

While it’s the largest and by far the oldest parade, it’s not the only one. The Dana Point Boat Parade of Lights, also canceled last year, will return. That parade runs three nights, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 and 11 and an hour earlier on Dec. 12.

Huntington Beach also holds the two-night Huntington Harbour Boat Parade on Dec. 11 and 12. That begins at 5:15 p.m.