From The Boathouse: Boat parades sooner than you think

November 13, 2012|By Mike Whitehead


Next week is Thanksgiving, which seems to come faster and faster every year. A lot of people are excited to go shopping the day after the feast, and some will bring out the holiday decorations for their homes. But let's not forget the decorations for your boat. If the weather is nice then venture on and go boating. I regularly see families out cruising the harbor with their families, friends and relatives.

This is the perfect opportunity to practice for the Christmas and Holiday Boat Parades happening in all three of Orange County's harbors.


Beginning with the southern most, the 38th annual Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights takes place two weekends. The theme "Lights, Camera, Action … A Hollywood Holiday" starts at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 7, 8, 14 and 15. For more information, visit

Moving up the coast, we have the 104th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, the Grand Daddy of all parades. Newport's begins at 6:30 p.m. for five nights and cruises almost the total harbor's perimeter. The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce hosts this event, themed this year "Surf, Sand and Santa!"

In addition to the boat parade, serving as the backdrop for the hundreds of lighted boats is the annual Ring of Lights contest, also hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce. Beautifully decorated bayside homes and businesses surrounding the harbor go "all out" with their holiday spirit, featuring everything from roof-top animated scenes to dancing Christmas trees. With its own judged categories and prizes, the Ring of Lights has become as celebrated as the boat parade itself.

This year's dates are Dec. 19 to 23, with a special fireworks display about 9 p.m. on the final night. For more information, visit

Looking to the most northern harbor in Orange County, boaters can join in the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Cruise Committee's Boat Parade. "Golden Memories, 50 Years of Music" is the theme for this parade, which starts at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 8 and 9.

In a separate event, he funds raised from the Cruise of Lights, which includes narrated boat tours from Dec. 15 to 23, support highly regarded educational youth programs of Orange County. Additionally, the Huntington Harbour Committee gives 10% of its fundraising proceeds from a holiday boutique and fashion show, among other events, directly back to school music programs based on need.

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