NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — The 104th annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade begins Wednesday night, but there may be fewer lights than in years past.
Last week, the city approve an increase in rental fees for residential docks that protrude over public tidelands, sparking a furor among residents.
It also prompted calls to boycott the boat parade and associated festival of lights by a group calling itself “Stop the Dock Tax.”
“It costs us thousands of dollars to voluntarily decorate our homes and boats to bring holiday smiles to nearly 1 million people,” organization Chairman Bob McCaffrey wrote to the city.
“This year, we are turning off our lights and withdrawing our boats in protest of the massive new dock tax we expect the City Council to levy.”
Others have recoiled at the proposed boycott, which they call “ridiculous.” They say the majority of people in harbor-front homes will still have their lights on.
The Christmas Boat Parade began in 1908, when a single gondola led eight canoes lit up by Japanese lanterns around the harbor.
It has now grown to include dozens of boats that circle past the decorated harbor-front homes, some ferrying paying customers.
The parade runs nightly every day through Sunday, Dec. 23, from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.