NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — Earlier this week, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce announced that it had canceled the annual Christmas Boat Parade due to the coronavirus pandemic, but a group of locals said they’re planning to put on a parade of their own.
“We’re gonna have the boat parade,” Mike Glenn, a boater, said. “Not everything requires a boss.”
Glenn said just because the chamber chose to cancel the annual event, which was scheduled to take place Dec. 16-20, it wouldn’t stop locals from decorating their boats, hitting the harbor and going rogue.
“I think we’re going free,” he said. “This is what freedom’s about.”
Glenn said 250 boaters have already signed up to participate in the off-book event, though he expects that number to double over the coming weeks.
“It really brings joy to the community,” he said. “We intend to deliver that joy, regardless of whether or not the chamber wants to be a part of it.”
Now, City Councilmember Kevin Muldoon is lobbying for the city to step in with a vote of support for the smaller outdoor event that will likely be held over three days, instead of five, and will wrap up before the state-mandated curfew goes into effect each night.
“This is an opportunity for us to show how much we’ve learned by continuing to have the safety be done by the individuals rather than having the state mandate it to them,” he said. “That same spirit of independence and personal responsibility, I think, is still strong in Newport.”
“I think it’s great, because it’ll boost the economy and we need the economy boosted,” Steve Bryen, a diner, said. “It’s really sad what’s going on right now.”
There will not be any concessions, events or special places to gather and park. Glenn said the goal of the event was to keep restaurants and hotels, normally fully booked for the annual event, in business.