Decor that dazzles

One Newport Beach family, who's been winning an award since 1996, got creative with some webbing.

December 16, 2010|By Joanna Clay,
  • Jim and Peggy Rich's decorated home extends to thier private dock, which includes Santa arriving in a hot air baloon and holiday train. Their home was one of several winners in the 2010 Ring of Lights competition.
Jim and Peggy Rich's decorated home extends to thier… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

The Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade wouldn't be nearly as exciting if it didn't have Balboa's colorful, brightly lit homes as a backdrop.

Sunday will mark the last night of the 102nd annual parade. Although the parade will boast its own round of winners, the Chamber of Commerce Commodores Club also recognizes the homes that captured the holiday spirit –— whether in lighting or decorations — in the Ring of Lights competition.

On Tuesday, the club announced the 2010 Ring of Lights winners.

This year was the first year with a "Green" category. Maxine Stomber won for her low-wattage LED lighting, which served as an alternative to the traditional electricity-guzzling holiday lights.

"Rather than have a warm look, the (LED) lights look a lot like ice — there's a blue cast to the white," said the "Green" category winner, who moved to Balboa Island from New Canaan, Conn., two years ago.


Gay Wassall-Kelly and her husband, Bill Kelly, were excited for their Best Lights win. However, the couple aren't foreign to local fame. They've won an award every year since they started decorating in 1996.

This year they had a new decorating tactic. Wassall-Kelly found white, web-like netting that she thought would be an interesting look for their 2010 Ring of Lights entry.

She decorated the dock with the webbing at first, then put candy canes wrapped in the netting around the roof, and then made her way to the first and second story of the home.

"It's just so different looking," she said. "We were so excited when we took a look at it from across the bay. We, of course, had to add some more."

When she went to cover the windows, her husband stopped her.

"If I could have more of the netting, we'd have all our windows covered in it," she said. "My husband looks out the windows, so he wouldn't let me."

Wassall-Kelly is also known on the Balboa Peninsula for donning a Christmas Tree suit, all lit up, and sitting on her dock as the boats go by.

"I'm referred to as a 'Naughty Pine,'" she said.

The peninsula residents, who are in their 70s, enjoy being a part of the festivities.

"We just love it," she said. "It just brings smiling faces."

2010 Ring of Lights Winners

General Winners:

Eric and Shirley Pepys, 526 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Penguins and Red Lights

Bob and Marcy Cook, 538 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Bears, Bears and more Bears

Jim and Peggy Rich, 802 S. Bay Front, Balboa Island — Real Snowmen and Lights galore

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