News Release

Light the World Themed Boat Wins ‘Best Music’ Award in 2021 Newport Beach Boat Parade

For the second year in a row, the Light the World themed boat won the “Best Music” award in the Newport Beach California Christmas Boat Parade. The boat was sponsored by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who volunteered a 60-foot yacht and brought together their talents to create a staged nativity scene. The Light the World entry shared the story of the first Christmas. The boat was one of over 100 watercraft of various sizes that participated in the 113th annual Christmas parade.

The parade, themed “Jingle on the Waves” this year, made its way through Newport Harbor nightly from December 15 to 19. With hundreds of thousands of viewers each night, it was estimated that more than one million spectators attended this year’s parade. Emphasizing the efforts of all the community members and volunteers, Gary Sherwin, president of Newport Beach and Company, said the parade is “a true labor of love and a gift from Newport Beach to the nation.” David Beek, co-chair of the 2021 parade and whose family founded the original boat parade, shared the locals’ sentiment that the boat parade is “Newport Beach’s Christmas card to the world.”

There was a wide array of decorated boats in the parade displaying elaborate twinkling lights, Santas, sleighs, snowmen, snowflakes and festive Christmas decorations. Jeff Shields, who has coordinated the Light the World boat since it first sailed four years ago, said, “We put on a living nativity and share the story of Jesus's birth by using live actors to pantomime the manger scene.” The lighted set featured Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus (a model), the angel, and two shepherds.

The scene depicted an angel declaring the glad news of Jesus’s birth as shepherds bowed in awe. Joseph invited all to come see, while Mary cradled the baby Jesus. A banner displayed on the side of the boat stated, “Wise men still seek Him – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” Shields left the cast and crew with this final reminder: “The Lord works through small things to create great things. We are small things.”

People cheered as the nativity display went by playing songs that proclaimed the birth of Jesus Christ and invited listeners to “come, let us adore Him.” Comments like “Happy birthday, Jesus,” “God bless you,” and “There’s Jesus,” were frequently heard from the crowd.

Elder Mark Mortensen, Area Authority for the Church, said, “It’s interesting … with all the enthusiasm about the parade generally and all the lights and all of the boats, there is a kind of hush that comes over when the nativity comes by.” He described it as “a reverent response.” Heidi Earl, who played the part of the angel, said, that as she passed by the thousands of people, she kept thinking, “I’m representing Christ. We are sharing the true meaning of Christmas.” The Light the World portrayal of the true meaning of Christmas prompted a small child to call out from the shoreline, “I love you Jesus.”

About the Light the World Boat

This will be the fourth year the boat representing Latter-day Saints has been in the parade. The 60-foot yacht, “Amada,” participated in all five nights of the parade and was offered for use by its owner, who is a member of the Church.

The Light the World entry has received awards each year it has participated:

· 2017 – 3rd place “Humor and Originality”

· 2018 – 2nd place “Animation and Special Effects”

· 2019 – “Best Music”

· 2021 – “Best Music “

About the Parade

December 15–19 2021, will be the 113-year anniversary of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, which spans 14 miles and takes about 2.5 hours to complete.

The event, sponsored by the Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, kicked off its inaugural parade with just nine boats but has grown to include as many as 100 boats. About 1.5 million people view the parade each year.

For more info on the Boat Parade:

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