This past Fourth of July we had yet another wonderful community event, put on by a devoted group of locals led by Lori Nafshun, the Ocean Park Association’s events chair, and a horde of helpful heroines and heroes. This was the third annual parade, and it is definitely growing into a widely attended and well received social event.
Like most American parades we had the Boy Scouts well represented. But this being Southern California, car culture was a strong presence. We had Mrs. California riding in a gorgeous red hot rod. There was a tremendous showing of amazing automobiles from the Classic Lowriders Car Club Los Angeles. The Santa Monica Neighborhood Electric Vehicle club was out in force, as was Plug-In America, the organization made famous by the movie “Who Killed the Electric Car?”
I played chauffeur to two of the city’s celebu-dogs, Bonzo and Lola in an electric roadster owned by Paul and Anne Pearson, who are the caretakers of the bark-o-beasts.
As we proceeded down Main Street, past the crowds of well-wishers, we passed out beach balls from the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, which this year is sporting a lovely chartreuse and charcoal motif. The kids seemed to love getting the balls, and the dogs were having a blast barking at their brethren who were stuck on the sidewalks with their owners.
It was truly an Americana moment. Being in a parade is always fun. It provides you with a sense of community and fellowship. Seeing the flags, and hearing the cheers of friends that you haven’t seen in a while, just makes you feel a part of the city.
We have such diversity in our small town, and really, it was all on display this past weekend. We’re lucky that we get to share our experiences and come together as one, without rivalries tearing us apart, creating hatred and dissension.
The friendliness that is the hallmark of Americans was definitely on display this past weekend, when I was invited to three barbecues, was able to attend two and had some wonderful conversations with people that I am glad to know.
This year there was the usual overindulgence in hamburgers, ribs and more cupcakes than I care to remember, but what the heck, like Mae West said, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough!”
It occurred to me as we came to the end of the parade route, and ended in the parking lot across from the towers, that this event is getting large enough, that what we really need is a festival. As we were turning up Nielsen, it seemed to me, with the Liberty Tax Service people on the lawn, that it would be wonderful if we had a Fourth of July party that was at the end of the parade. I envisioned booths with delicacies being sold, and a surf band playing, maybe a face painter or two, a cotton candy shack and someone selling Icees.
The Rotary Club of Santa Monica could do a pancake breakfast, and the Lions Club could man a sausage and peppers stand. Maybe we could get the City Council to be the bait in a dunking both, but on second thought, the fire department crews might be a bigger draw. We could have a pizza eating contest, and get some publicity like they do in Atlantic City, down at Perry’s Pizza.
Then there’s the police. We have to make them do something besides traffic control. Maybe a basketball hoops shooting contest.
Well I’m not sure where to go with this, it’s just an idea I had. It might be a great way for us to expand the city’s goodwill and increase our sense of community. I love our city, and I want to see it continue to foster the types of events that bring us together and help us become better acquainted.
So once again, a big thank you to Lori Nafshun and the many hands who put on a fantabulous Fourth of July parade. People like Lori and her team of volunteers, who give to the greater good, deserve our thanks and appreciation for making the memories that many of the children I saw on the parade route will carry forward to their children.
David Pisarra is a family law attorney focusing on father’s rights and men’s Issues in the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (310) 664-9969.