Harbor, hotels and city hold holiday celebrations throughout December

‘Bodacious’ won the Best Use of Lights Over 30′ award at the 2012 Boat Parade of Lights. Photo by Andrea Swayne

Compiled by Andrea Papagianis

As leftovers are being re-heated and shoppers flock to storefronts boasting Black Friday deals, holiday traditions around Dana Point are gearing up. We’ve compiled a snapshot of local happenings to keep residents moving throughout the hibernation season.

Illuminating DP

Boat Parade of Lights—Friday, December 6; Saturday, December 7; Friday, December 13 and Saturday, December 14 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Gleaming vessels will brighten the waterways two weekends in December as the 39th annual Boat Parade of Lights cruises the Dana Point Harbor. Visible from most spots in the Harbor, decked out boats will parade around the port competing for judges’ awards. Join the parade by entering a boat or reserving a spot on a Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari or Ocean Institute tour. Visit www.danapointharbor.com or call 949.496.5794 for more about the parade.

Holiday Home Decorating Contest—Entry forms due to City Hall, 33282 Golden Lantern, by Monday, December 9 at 5:30 p.m. For the 14th year, the Dana Point Youth Board invites residents to partake in the Holiday Home Decorating Contest. Entry is free and prizes will be awarded to first through third place homes. Youth Board members will judge entries Friday, December 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 949.248.3512.

Tree Lighting and Sand Sculpture DedicationSunday, December 1 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The St. Regis Monarch Beach, located at 1 Monarch Beach Resort, welcomes guests to its 13th Annual Sand  Sculpture Dedication. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor of Long Beach, will be the mistress of ceremonies. For  more details about this event, call 800.722.1543 or visit www.stregismb.com/holiday.

Santa Sightings

Snapshots with SantaFriday, December 6 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday, December 12 and 19 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Leading up to his busiest day of the year, Santa Claus will make stops at the Dana Point Harbor to finalize his naughty and nice lists. Swing by, bring the camera and say “Hello” to the holly, jolly Christmas figure. Santa will be in the courtyard near El Torito on December 6 and 12, and at Dana Wharf on December 19.

Pets for Santa Paws—Saturday, December 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pets love gifts from Santa Claus too, and the Pet Project Foundation knows it. For a $15 donation, four-legged creatures, or those who fly and slither can have their picture taken with St. Nick. All funds raised benefit the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. Learn more at www.petprojectfoundation.org.

Santa Sets SailSaturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  While he prefers travel by sleigh, Santa will be taking to the sea with his helpers on 20-minute Harbor cruises for a $3 donation. Funds raised help the El Camino Junior Woman’s Club. Cruises leave from the Harbor’s east end at the commercial fishing docks. Call 949.496.5794 or 949.923.2255 for more.

Santa Claus gets a big hug from Gavin Petin, 4, at the Dana Point Harbor last year. Photo by Andrea Swayne
Santa Claus gets a big hug from Gavin Petin, 4, at the Dana Point Harbor last year. Photo by Andrea Swayne

Building Sweets

Gingerbread SpectacularOn display through December 31. The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel pastry team spent hundreds of hours preparing this year’s decadent, holiday display, dedicated to local organizations such as Surfers Healing and Father Serra’s Pantry. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the lip-smacking scenes at The Ritz-Carlton, 1 Ritz-Carlton Drive now until New Year’s Eve.

Crafting CookiesThursday, December 12 starting at 4 p.m. School aged children are invited to the Dana Point Library, 33841 Niguel Road, for a cookie decorating extravaganza. Registration is required for this free program, by calling 949.496.5517. Each participating child will be provided with cookies, frosting and various decorations for the toppings.

Holly, Jolly Caroling

Strolling Jr. CarolersFriday, December 6 and 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, December 14 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Junior high school students from Capo Valley Christian will serenade Dana Point Harbor visitors with holiday inspired tunes.

Festive Family Fun

Holiday in the HarborFriday, December 6 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Dana Point Harbor will be transformed into a holiday haven, leading up to the first parade of decorated nautical vessels. Family-friendly events will be set up throughout the Harbor. To find out more information, visit www.danapointharbor.com.

Winter FestivalSaturday, December 14 from noon to 7 p.m. The city of Dana Point welcomes guests for a day of holiday fun at La Plaza Park, 34111 La Plaza (at Pacific Coast Highway). Carnival games, holiday tunes, a visit from Santa Claus, crafts, a petting zoo, pony rides and snow will top off the annual celebration. Stick around for a tree-lighting ceremony and free hot chocolate at 5:15 p.m. A free movie, Arthur Christmas, will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Puttin’ on the Glitz—Saturday, November 30 starting at 5 p.m. The San Clemente Downtown Business Association and the city of San Clemente will showcase their annual event on Avenida Del Mar. The night’s festivities kick off with a parade at 5 p.m., which will conclude with the arrival of Santa Claus on a fire truck. Shuttle service will be available, from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. from San Clemente High School.

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