Angela, and her mother, Lee Stein of Corona del Mar.
"My mom said this was the thing to do, and she was right. Just look at
all the pretty boats."
Over the next six nights, an estimated 1 million people are expected
to line the shores of Newport Harbor to watch the parade of 65 lighted
and decorated boats, which circle Balboa Island.
The event kicked off Sunday and will continue at 6:30 nightly through
Saturday, beginning at Collins Island.
This was the first time Art and Carol Montsinger of Huntington Beach
have seen the parade, and they said they couldn't have asked for a better
The couple were in the front patio of a friend's home for a holiday
party and marveled at the number of people laughing and chatting around
them on the sidewalk.
"This is really a wonderful community event," Carol Montsinger said.
"We were walking down the sidewalk and just ran into some friends from
Whittier. It's just perfect weather and so much fun."
A few hours before the event began, parade chairman Brett Hemphill
couldn't say enough about how pleased he was with the weather.
"The waters look awesome," said Hemphill, who rode on a Harbor Patrol
boat with parade control chairman Jim Dale in case there was any boat
"The wind is not out of control; it's pretty mellow. This is a unique
event because you can't have something like this just anywhere because of
the weather, like in Colorado. And it's a great setting with people's
homes right there."
Emily Sopp of Rolling Hills Estates, whose grandmother, Nancy Sopp,
and uncle, John Sopp, hosted the party attended by the Montsingers, said
being able to watch the parade from her family's home is a tradition that
really brings the holiday spirit.
"I am trying to convince my cousins to do the parade next year in our
little Duffy," Sopp said, pointing to a tiny boat floating just in front
of her. "It would be so funny to decorate it. We could do better than all
the Grinch themes I saw this year."
Of course, the Grinch was not around when the parade was started in
1908 by Italian gondolier John Scarpa and Joseph Beck, one of the city's
founders. That year there were eight boats illuminated by Japanese
lanterns and led by Scarpa's gondola.
Now, the event is considered one of the premier boat parades in the
nation and so popular that spectators are hard-pressed to find a place to
park to watch the vessels cruising the harbor.
"It's just so fun to bring the family and enjoy something like this,"
Rocio McKelliep of Trabuco Canyon, who came with her husband and three
sons, said as another yacht came around the corner playing "Jingle Bell
Rock." "There are just so many lights."