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Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade begins tonight

More than 100 elaborately decorated boats typically participate in the event, now in its 102nd year.

BY JENNA SWEENEYPublished: December 15, 2010 09:30 AM

The 102nd annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will begin illuminate the harbor starting tonight and continuing through Sunday. This year’s theme: Lights, Camera ... Christmas.

This year’s parade pays homage to Newport’s ties to cinema, having served as a hometown to movie stars and as a backdrop to a number of films.

Since 1908, multimillion dollar yachts, kayaks, canoes and other small boats have sparkled with holiday lights and elaborate decorations, lighting up the night as they cruise the waters of Newport Beach. The 14-mile spectacle is the nation’s oldest holiday celebration on the water and typically features more than 100 vessels. Up to a million people attend the parade each year.

Onlookers can experience the parade from the public beaches of Balboa Island. The yacht clubs, restaurants and private homes that line Newport Harbor will offer spectacular views as well.

Many homes along the harbor will be decorated, as well, to compete in the “Ring of Lights” contest. The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce judges the annual contest.

Fireworks will glitter above the Balboa Pier at 9 p.m. on Sunday, the final night of the parade.

The Boat Parade and Ring of Lights Awards Dinner & Auction will be held on Jan. 28 at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort. The event is open to the public.

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