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From the Boathouse: A strand of lights along the coast

December 06, 2013|By Mike Whitehead

Ahoy!

December has arrived along with a plethora of Christmas parades, whether by land or by sea. However, the signal lanterns from Paul Revere's Ride for one if by land and two if by sea have been replaced by thousands and thousands of Christmas lights decorating the floats and boats in parades for the next few weekends throughout the world.

Looking locally, the boat parades in Orange County's three harbors begin this weekend and continue for a few weekends. Let's begin with Huntington Harbour, which is the county's most northerly. Huntington's parade is scheduled for Dec. 7 and 8, and the theme chosen is "Music Around the World." The 51st annual parade and Cruise of Lights is presented by the Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee with proceeds benefiting the Philharmonic Society of Orange County's music education programs for children.

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Huntington Harbour is known for its spectacularly decorated homes, and you can find out how to see the parade and homes at hhboatparade.org or by calling (714) 840-7542.

Now, let us cruise down the coast to OC's most southern harbor of Dana Point for its Boat Parade of Lights. The 39th annual parade is held on two consecutive weekends with this year's theme being "Here We Come A'Caroling." You can plan to enter your boat or watch the parade Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14 starting at 7:30 p.m. each night. Head to danapointharbor.com to see all the activities and times.

Then we have the granddaddy of all the parades in the nation with the 105th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade being held this year from Dec. 18 to 22. This parade is recognized as one of the top 10 holiday events in the country, boasting entries as small as kayaks and as large as million-dollar mega yachts whose decorations can cost in the tens of thousands.

The parade cruises around most of Newport Harbor and you can watch from numerous bayfront viewing locations or book a cruise on one of the sightseeing charter boats. This year's theme is "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and I always enjoy seeing the very imaginative decorations inspired by the annual theme.

The parade's website is christmasboatparade.com, which has information about the parade, the homes decorated for the Ring of Lights and the annual awards and dinner auction. Additionally, you can call the Chamber of Commerce at (714) 729-4400 if you are still floating in the dark ages without Internet access.

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