History of the 4th of July Parade

Balboa Peninsula Point 4th of July Parade History
by Ralph Bernard

 

ralphAs I recall, the Children”s Parade got its start in the 1990’s when the residents surrounding the L Street Park thought it would be fun for the children to celebrate Independence Day by helping them decorate their Radio Flyer wagons and tricycles. Then a boom box was added for patriotic music pulling them around the park a few times followed by a hot dog picnic.

Soon word got around and spectators came from all around wanted to participate. So, we mapped out a street plan of interior roads starting at L Street, down Miramar, around the M Street Park, waiting 10minutes for the parade to catch up and then running the same route in reverse back home at L Street. The new route took 25 minutes, all at a child”s pace. It worked great, but after years of “just doing it” the City busted us.

From then on we were required to get a permit and pay several hundred dollars in fees. We also assembled a group of volunteers who would close the street ends along the route as the parade progressed. Every year we added an event such as the Sea Scout Color Guard followed by banner – toting girls and then, the Balboa Station’s fire truck, Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty, the Grand Marshal (who is the current President of the Association), followed by the crazy 6 piece Independence Day Band of brass and drum. Then, a spectacular marching group of tennis player ladies who wear 4th of July costumes and do marching routines twirling decorated rackets. Then come the children with bikes, trikes, floats, skateboards, and decorated dogs on leashes. Later, there are prizes awarded for the best entries.At eleven sharp the Parade Director blows the whistle and leads the parade around the course. Twenty volunteer day-glow vested Intersection Monitors stop all traffic on the side streets and alleys with Road Closed signs as the parade goes by. The total elapsed time: 25 minutes!

The event draws about four hundred participants mostly Peninsula residents. Other than a notice in our local Pointer periodical we don”t advertise the parade because people from inland who
come down to the Balboa Peninsula cannot find a single parking space as early as 6 A.M.! We stay out of the newspapers and recognize it is just a funky local children’s parade with more kids in it than are along the curb watching. As the parade ends, the prizes are given for the best entries and a hot dog picnic ensues. By 1:30 in the afternoon everything is picked up, the park is restored and the kids, young and old, have had a Happy Fourth!

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