NEWPORT BEACH—In a year full of event cancelations, there has been some good news for the Old Glory Boat Parade, a Newport Beach Harbor tradition of 70 years.
Boats adorned in red, white and blue, American flags, and themed decorations will be allowed to cruise through the harbor in the annual event on the Fourth of July. American Legion Yacht Club (ALYC) was granted permits to hold the boat parade, which will be held July 4 from 1-3:30 p.m.
“It was a long shot to get a permit, but knowing how much this parade means to the city and the community, as well as our American Legion Post 291 family, we knew we had to make a special appeal to the Mayor,” ALYC Commodore Bruce Batcheller said in a released statement.
This year’s theme is “honoring our frontline heroes.” ALYC said the parade typically honors active military and veterans, but this year’s parade was inspired by one of their own who was called back to active service for COVID defense after 14 years of Army retirement. ALYC will salute their military brothers and sisters who worked aboard the USNS Mercy, the Army Corp of Engineers who built hospitals and will also honor the frontline medical professionals in the community who rose to the occasion.
The club’s boat Valor will lead the parade followed by a VIP boat with honored guests from the local medical community who served in COVID-19 defense. The parade will start at Lido Island at 1 p.m. and follow a course throughout the harbor. The parade is free to watch from most public beaches, docks and boardwalks around the harbor area. Spectators are asked to maintain social distancing.
“We recognize the parade won’t have quite the impact as in years past with the loaded boats and packed restaurants and beaches, but it can be a well-timed shot in the arm for our city and local area that really needs something to look forward to,” said Batcheller.
All boaters are welcome to decorate their vessel and participate. Registration is free and can be completed online at alyc.com/event-3669764/Registration. Planning meetings and Skipper meetings will all be held via Zoom. ALYC is asking boaters to meet harbor social distancing guidelines and use sound judgment aboard their vessels.
Prizes will be awarded for best decorated, outstanding music, finest costumes and most creative. Winners will be announced at a banquet on July 19 at 7 p.m.
More information, including a route map, can be found at alyc.com.
The Old Glory Parade began very casually in the 1950’s as the Character Boat
Parade. The Newport Harbor Chamber of Commerce eventually took the helm, changed the theme, and built the event into a grand parade. Today, it is sponsored by ALYC and is hailed as one of California’s largest longest-running patriotic boat parades.