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THE CROWD:Boat parade awards, future financing

January 27, 2007|By B.W. COOK

The 98th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade awards dinner and auction brought out civic leaders, local celebs and the best holiday decorators for a festive evening last week at the Balboa Bay Club and Resort. Hotelier Henry Schielein invited the community to dinner sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Simple Green and Traditional Jewelers, and they all came for a very upbeat party filled with toasts and roasts.

Super congenial Ed Arnold of TV fame headlined the night, which began with cocktails on the poolside portico of the club. Arnold also handled the live auction duties, which raised funds to support next year's 99th boat parade spectacle. The foyer of the club's ballroom was lined with thousands of dollars of silent auction merchandise as well, donated by Newport merchants and boat parade sponsors to help fill the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce's coffers.

Special recognition for the auction effort must be paid to Linda Beimfohr, chairwoman, and Bill Barrington, co-chairman. They were joined by David Beck, Homer Bludau, Kirk Dawson, Joe DuBois, Gina Frye, Stanford Green, Lloyd Ikerd, William Jacoby, Gil Lukosky, Bill Rhinesmith, Gary Sherwin, Mark Silvey, Andrew Theodorou and Stuart Walker — all local leaders and business execs working together to support the holiday effort and build community recognition. Others deserving thanks are Newport Beach Mayor Steve Rosansky, Sascha Contreras of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, Kathi Misterly, John Pomer, Wendy Hooper, Bob Kimmerlee and Lesa Vander Bie.

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Thousands of volunteer hours go into producing the boat parade event, led this year by Commodore Ralph Rodheim. Thanks to television and the Internet, organizers estimate that tens of millions of people around the globe witness the harbor parade and are familiar with Newport Beach as a result. Such recognition translates into commerce.

The chamber did an excellent job thanking and showcasing all the participants in both the harbor parade and Ring of Lights land entrants. Huge video screens were erected in the Balboa Bay Club ballroom showing scenes from the recent festivities, which drew loud applause from participants and fans in the dining room.

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