As fireworks illuminate the sky and send flecks of light across the Pacific, there may be no better place to celebrate the Fourth of July than on the beaches of Malibu.
From soaking up the sun on Carbon Beach to top-tier musical performances in nearby LA, there are any number of ways to commemorate Independence Day, all just a short drive from Malibu Beach Inn. Perhaps the most awaited: the long-standing local tradition of a Fourth of July parade, picnic, and grand fireworks viewing on the beautiful rock promontory of Point Dume.
Spearheading last year’s effort, Doug and his wife split the responsibility of planning the celebration by reaching out to other local creatives. “We are putting this together and overseeing it as shepherds,” he said. “It’s really put together by the community as a whole.”
Photo: Malibu Custom Carts
For the eighteenth year, residents of Malibu will gather for the spirited parade which sees classic cars, golf carts, bicycles, and walkers bedecked in red, white, and blue. The patriotic procession follows the curve of Point Dume from the corner of Bluewater and Birdview to Point Dume Marine Science School.
At the parade route’s end, a classic celebration awaits with hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill, live music playing all afternoon, and a host of family activities from tug-of-war to potato sack races. (There is also a Mini-Patriot Play Area for toddlers featuring a ring toss, bean bag toss, and other carnival games for young children.)
“A lot of these kids in Malibu, they have no idea what the three-legged race is,” says Doug Randall, organizer of the Point Dume 4th of July Parade & Picnic. “We try to keep it traditional.”
Along with his wife, Doug took over planning for the beloved celebration last year when one of the original founders retired from the event. He couldn’t bear to see the parade end, with many participants having memories dating back to the original event in 1999 when a small group of locals dressed up a few pickup trucks, horses, and bicycles. (“They just wanted to show a little bit of patriotism by walking around Point Dume,” said Doug, adding, “Here we are 18 years later and, boy, has it grown into an event.”)
Photo: Malibu Custom Carts
The result: one of the most memorable years on Point Dume – and Doug only has more in store for this year. The music is expected to go beyond the ordinary under the eye of a local pastor and the organizer for the acclaimed Malibu Guitar Festival. Sky Renee, who opened the Guitar Festival in May, will sing the national anthem at the picnic, and a number of Malibu-based musicians from small local acts to award-winning performers are expected on stage.
“I just make sure that everybody is talking and getting things together,” says Doug of the entertainment scheduling. He plans on “shepherding” the event for as long as he can – unless someone more creative or with more energy comes along, he notes with a smile.
And despite receiving sponsorship offers from major brands, the residents of Malibu have decided to sustain the local spirit of the parade by continuing to run it themselves. Area shops and eateries are the sponsors, moms and dads are the ones flipping burgers, and the support for the volunteer- and donation-based traditional event has never been stronger.
That is not to say there are not grand ideas in store for the future, though. Doug only foresees more entertainment that stays true to family values in years to come. “Whether it is in one, two, or three years,” he says, “we would like to turn it into an all-day scheduled event.”
This year’s parade line-up begins at 9 am on Tuesday, July 4 with the parade starting at 10 am. There is no set start time for the picnic, but Doug assures, “By the time the parade participants get to the school, we already have music playing and hamburgers and hotdogs cooking.”
At day’s end, fireworks are ignited from private barges to the north and south, lighting up the coastline in an unforgettable display.