Protest the protest.
That's been the rallying motto as of late for the organizers of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade amid an organized effort to boycott the 104-year-old tradition.
And, by most accounts, it's working.
More than 90 boats have signed up this year to make the nearly 14-mile run through Newport Harbor. The Balboa Bay Club and Resort was brimming with activity during the parade's opening night Wednesday, and according to one official's estimate, a "jillion" homeowners will decorate their abodes with lights.
"There's a great buzz," said David Beek, chairman of the Christmas Boat Parade, which is themed "Surf, Sand and Santa" this year. It runs through Dec. 23. "If anything, the boycott news brought attention to the event."
Beek referred to some harbor stakeholders who, in protest to a fee increase for residential docks that go over public tidelands, have grouped together to form the "Stop the Dock Tax" coalition. Their chairman, Bob McCaffrey, said Wednesday that it's hard to say if their efforts have had an effect.