In Newport Beach, California, the Beek family watches thousands of Christmas lights glide across the water.

By Toni Weingarten
November 02, 2007
Fran Gealer

"Dolphins!" shouts 12-year-old Riley Beek as she points to themiddle of California's Newport Harbor. Three graceful mammals archin and out of the water, unofficially marking the start of anannual holiday event: the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade. SoonRiley and her family will watch more than 100 vessels covered withcolored lights and decorations cruise along these Orange Countychannels.

Generations of Beeks have enjoyed the parade since its inceptionmore than 60 years ago. Riley's great-grandfather and Newport'sfirst harbormaster, Joseph Beek, towed a barge with carolers and alighted tree around the harbor in 1946. Today, her grandfatherSeymour operates the harbor ferry and her dad, David, runs the fueldock. Aunts, uncles, and cousins return each year to the family'shistoric home for the parade.

For the Beeks, this is more than a festival of lights. "When Isee the parade," Riley says, "I think of family."

For more on the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, visit