NEWPORT BEACH, CA — The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade is going dark in 2020, yet another casualty of the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation marks the first time in 112 years that boats will not parade the waters of Newport Harbor covered in lights. Instead, the city will still hold their annual Ring of Lights contest.
Mayor Will O'Neill praised the difficult decision made by the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, Wednesday.
"I know how much the tradition of the Boat Parade means to the Chamber, the residents, business owners, and visitors to the City," O'Neill said. "Even so, the Chamber is to be commended for their leadership and sacrifice. I look forward to a bigger and better celebration in 2021.”
The decision to cancel was not made lightly.
"Clearly, many people will be disappointed, including us," O'Neill says.
During unprecedented times O'Neill and those at the Chamber of Commerce agree that the deep impacts from the coronavirus pandemic have affected almost every large event in Southern California and around the nation.
The Christmas Boat Parade is merely the latest in a long line of parades and festivals.
Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Steven Rosansky discussed the cancellation.
"It was our hope that conditions would improve or at least remain static," Rosansky said "However, looking at what is happening across the country, as well as in our own backyard, that is simply not the case. Governor Newsom made it clear at his recent press conference that conditions are worsening across the State of California and that we need to put on the “emergency brake” to slow the spread of coronavirus.”
One bright spot is that the sister event to the Parade, The Rings of Lights, will still go forward. Homeowners around the harbor who decorate their homes and enter will still be judged and eligible to win in a number of categories. The winners will be announced on December 15th. For more information on how to enter the Ring of Lights, visit www.christmasboatparade.com.
Parade Co-Chair, Larry Smith reflected on the meaning of the Boat Parade.
“The Parade has a century long tradition of being Newport Beach’s “Christmas Card to the World,” Smith said. "This year, our message must clearly reflect the safety and well being of all concerned. To all our partners, participants and supporters of this rich holiday tradition, we hope you will agree."
Do you have a Newport Christmas Boat Parade memory to share? Let us know in comments.