Hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, the dazzling array of holiday lights covering floating works of art kicked off Wednesday.
Although the holiday boat parade has been a tradition for years, some harbor residents refused to take part in the event over higher dock fees.
The current fee is a flat $100 per year, however, the fee will now be based on a dock's size. Last week, the Newport City Council voted to raise dock fees to 52.5 cents per square foot, which will cost the average boat owner a few hundred dollars more each year. The city manager says the increase in price reflects the fair market value of the Newport docks.
Organizers do not believe the proposed boycott will have an impact on the parade. According to David Beek, Chairman of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, this year could be one of the best.
"There's more boats than ever registered for the parade, we're coming up on 90 boats this year," said Beek. "The homes that decorate around the bay went crazy this year. They're magnificient."
Some boat owners are said to have spent up to $50,000 in holiday lights to deocrate their waterfront vessels.
Residents boycotting the parade say it's a very challenging situation since they hate to miss being part of the parade. Still, many feel they have to take a stand against the proposed increase.
The 104th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade runs through Sunday. For more information on the event, visit www.christmasboatparade.com.