Stars, stripes and golf carts were seen floating up Fernhill Drive on Sunday morning for the 20th annual Point Dume Independence Day Parade and Picnic. The celebration brought back a tradition Malibu residents were eager to enjoy again after two years of postponement, first for the Woolsey Fire and then the coronavirus pandemic.
“This looks like this is the largest turnout we’ve ever had,” Doug Randall, Malibu Custom Carts owner and parade organizer, said to the crowd. “We expect the largest turnout due to two things—the Woolsey Fire and, last year, to COVID.”
The event was co-sponsored by Point Dume Community Services District, Telltale Games and Malibu Custom Carts. Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station and members of the Malibu Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) were busy guiding vehicles and carts at the parade. Locals stood by the sidewalks near their homes waving and cheering, “Happy Fourth!” to the line of decorated carts and vehicles that passed by. A few fuzzy friends were enjoying the attention from little kids with faces painted red, white and blue.
Founded by Dr. Steven Grahek in 2000, the parade is one of the Point Dume community’s longest-running and most beloved traditions. When Grahek said he was unable to continue hosting the event, Randall, along with a group of volunteers, came together to keep the tradition going.
“This started just 22 years ago with a couple of locals, a couple of horses and a couple of old trucks and it just grew and grew and grew; it’s a real community involvement,” Randall said. “Point Dume, as a community, just really needed to go out and socialize.”
Randall said the parade was given a green light just two weeks prior by the Santa Monica-Malibu School District and the City of Malibu.
“So, basically, I had just two weeks to put this together,” Randall said. “Besides CERT and the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Department, there were about a dozen more people helping us set up.”
The parade began at Bluewater and Birdview and finished at Malibu Elementary School, where guests gathered to enjoy ice cream, tacos, face painting and live music.
“This is the 20th time we have been doing this parade and clearly the community was really looking forward to it,” volunteer Ellen Burson said.
While participants were socializing and enjoying the free food, volunteers and organizers collected donations to help cover permit fees and other festivities.
“We want to remind everyone that this is a volunteer effort, with Doug Randall with Malibu Carts and the Point Dume Community Association. We need help with everyone,” Point Dume Community Services District President Paul Major said to the crowd. “We want to continue this and keep our park alive and we have future plans for our community district.”
Fullerton resident and frequent Malibu visitor Michelle Yates sang the national anthem at Sunday’s event and said it was a nice experience.
“My friend last night asked me to sing and I’ve never ever sung in public before—at least in front of several people,” Yates said. “I felt like I choked a little bit after I got scared, but I felt a lot better after singing.”
Any golf carts or vehicles that participated were asked to donate between $10-$20.
“Road closures, permits and insurance are very expensive. People don’t realize it but this costs between 10 to 12 thousand dollars a year, so please donate generously,” Randall said.
A petition was displayed for participants to sign for a proposal from the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission, which is scheduled to vote whether or not to dissolve the Point Dume Community District. Major said the district serves community events such as the Point Dume parade.
In a follow-up email, Major said they believe they were able to change the LAFCO’s decision based on how successful the event was.
“The Point Dume Fourth of July Parade was an inspiration of ours back in the early ‘90s, and to see how popular this event has become is just wonderful,” Major said in an email to The Malibu Times. “We have great community support and would like all to know that we have a great chance to continue community services to our Point Dume residents and the Malibu community as well.”