One of Southern California's and Orange County's most festival annual events
is also one of its oldest holiday traditions. Newport Beach Christmas Boat
Parade is held in Newport Harbor each December. Unlike other boat parades where
you must sit on the sidelines and watch, this parade allows visitors to buy
tickets for rides on lighted boats and join in the fun. The parade passes by
some of the most luxurious and opulently-lit houses in wealthy
providing a double treat.
Your are part of the parade, passing close and personal to other beautiful
vessels, you watch the houses as you glide by, and on board each boat are
beverages, festivities and celebrating.
Often on the final night of the parade a fireworks show closes out the
History: On July 4, 1908, the first lighted boat parade took place.
The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade began when Italian gondolier John Scarpa
met developer Joseph Beek who established the Balboa Ferry Line. The two created Tournament of Lights.
In 1907, Scarpa began the tradition of lighting boats by taking a group of visitors from Pasadena across the bay in a gondola decorated with Japanese lanterns.
In 1913 the parade was called Illuminated Water Parade. World War I erupted and a severe depression hit Newport Harbor. It was not until 1919 that Beek,
who ran the ferry boat operations, created a Tournament of Roses style
lighted boat parade. After years of refinement and change of dates, Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade,
came into existence as the culmination of years of experimentation. Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce
now produces the event seen by an estimated million visitors each year.
Today's event can be experienced on land watching the boats, or by reserving
a boat ride through one of the commercial boat operators at Newport Landing.