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From the Boathouse: A season of lights

December 13, 2012|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

Tis the season and the boat parades are underway in our local harbors and across the nation. For those living in southern Orange County, you have two more chances to see the 38th annual Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights. This year's theme is "Lights … Camera … Action! — A Hollywood Holiday." Dana Point provides many great spots from which to watch the parade, but remember, parking will be difficult if you arrive late. The parade begins at 7:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday; go to danapointharbor.com for more information.

Next week is the start of the 104th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, which was rated number two in the "Top 10 Destinations for Holiday Lights" by Yahoo! Travel last year. The number-one destination was New York City, and in third place behind Newport's parade was Walt Disney World.

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After all these years, I am still amazed at the number of people who think that the City of Newport Beach manages the parade. The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce hosts, organizes and manages the parade and many other events throughout the year.

This granddaddy of all parades could not happen without all the volunteers, and most are Chamber members. Approximately 100 people volunteer their time and knowledge to make this wonderful parade possible year after year. Also assisting with the parade are the Newport Beach Police, the Orange County Harbor Patrol, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, the yacht clubs with patrol boats and many others.

The goal is to produce a fun, safe and enjoyable parade for both the boaters in the parade and the spectators. As I mentioned in my column last week, "I do have an issue with Bob McCaffrey and his Stop the Dock Tax organization boycotting the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade."

I continued, "By boycotting the parade, Bob and his group are hurting the homeowners and businesses that this very tax is hurting. The parade is an economic shot in the arm to local businesses and a wonderful event for people to watch and enjoy. Why would this organization attack the parade to make a statement to the city? You are only hurting your allies, and maybe decreasing, a little, the sales tax revenue to the city."

Politics are not part of the parade, and the parade only helps local businesses.

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