Preparations for the 104th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade are chugging along, parade organizers said Tuesday — and it's expected to be smooth sailing, despite opponents of the city's residential dock fee increases threatening a boycott.
"At the end of the day, the boycott backfired on itself," said parade Chairman David Beek. "The mentality was boycott the boycott."
The parade, which is hosted by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, is scheduled for 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The parade kicks off and ends at Bay Island.
Fireworks will kick off the parade about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday and conclude it after 9 p.m. Sunday. Past parades only had a fireworks show at the end of the parade.
About 83 boats have signed up to participate, according to Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Director of Operations and Communications Jeff Parker.
Beek said the parade had 72 entries last year.
"Our goal is always to get 70-plus," he said, "and the ultimate goal is 100."
Parade organizers consider anything in between a success, he said.
Monday night about 10 commodores toured the harbor to judge the Ring of Lightshomedecoration contest, Beek said.
"This year was by far the most spectacular the bay has ever been decorated," he said. "It was insane. I was expecting people to go off, but nothing like we saw last night."
Beek said some of the presentations kept to this year's theme, "Surf, Sand and Santa," and some homes have their own traditions.
About 19 homes signed up to be judged for the Ring of Lights contest, said Duncan Forgey, who headed the judging.
"The bay is looking beautiful, many houses have decorated, and the parade will be one of our best yet because of weather and participants," he said.
Pete Pallette, who has been outspoken on behalf of the Stop the Dock Tax group leading the boycott, said it'll be difficult to quantify its effects, but he plans to keep his home dark.
"Will we be shutting the community down? No, I don't think so. Frankly, I wouldn't want to," he said. "Personally, I'm going to follow through."
Police said Monday that residents and parade-goers should plan for big crowds.
A Newport Beach Police Department news release said Monday that depending on traffic flow each night of the parade, left-turn lanes from westbound East Coast Highway to southbound Jamboree Road and the right-turn lane from eastbound East Coast Highway onto southbound Jamboree may be closed.
All city parking lots will be open to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors, the release said.
As for the elements?
"Looks like the weather forecast for the next couple nights is going to cooperate," Beek said.