Joyful exuberance on display at annual Point Dume July 4th parade

An excited crowd lined the streets to celebrate freedom, summer, and neighbors for the traditional annual event, a Malibu summertime highlight. Photos by Julie Ellerton/TMT.

The spirit of celebrating community was on full display Monday at the 21st annual July 4th parade on Point Dume. A jubilant crowd lined the streets to celebrate freedom, summer, and neighbors for the traditional event that is a Malibu summertime highlight. 

While the holiday event was scaled back somewhat this year due to rising costs and fewer funds, organizer Doug Randall happily called the parade “fantastic and bigger than we expected.”

Although news of a mass shooting at another July 4 parade in Highland Park, Illinois, had not reached many parade-goers Monday morning, there was already an increased security presence and road closures in the Point Dume neighborhood and near the parade route. Malibu CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) members, including Mayor Paul Grisanti, were staffing road safety barricades early Monday. 

Decorated golf carts, bicyclists, vintage autos, kids on skateboards, families, dogs, and horses lined up at Bluewater and Birdview for the start to march and wind through the streets of the tightknit coastal community. Some threw candy to supportive neighbors and guests waving flags on the sidelines who cheered them on. Some used the opportunity to hold signs seeking freedom for reproductive rights.

Randall admitted this year “has really been bad” trying to raise funds in order to stage the festive event. Just last year, the longtime Malibu resident and a committee were able to put on the event for about $10,000, but with inflation and “surcharges,” the cost skyrocketed to $14,000. The cost for traffic control alone went from $2,000 to $3,000. School rental fees rose by $500. 

“Everything went up in price. We weren’t able to come up with enough money to hold the actual picnic itself. This year people didn’t want to donate. We could not generate enough money this year for the band, tacos, and all the extras,” according to Randall. Plans were scaled back at the last minute to scrap the picnic but still have refreshments for kids and adults. A Mr. Softee truck distributed more than 300 ice cream treats, and a face painter and tattoo artist spent hours decorating kids. Thanks to Pavilions, free watermelon slices or “Malibu hydration wedges” were enjoyed.

The parade took a break in 2020 “to play it safe,” according to Randall, but 2021 saw a “very strong showing,” Randall recalled. “The community really needed to get out and socialize and establish a network for us as a community again.” 

He estimates roughly 2,500 people showed up last year. This year saw nearly as many people turn out to celebrate July 4 with their Malibu neighbors. Randall was surprisingly pleased with the 2022 turnout, especially since, over the decades, he’s witnessed big changes in Malibu and Point Dume. 

“Point Dume has a new community base. It’s not the same community we had in the past. There’s a lot of out-of-town families that now live in Point Dume who have weekend houses in Malibu. I’ve seen Malibu change over the years, especially the Point Dume community.” 

Randall recalled as a youngster he would play baseball on Pacific Coast Highway. Even though times have changed the area, Randall was looking forward to the July 4 festivities he spent months planning. This is his eighth or ninth year as the organizer; he couldn’t remember. And with the many hours he puts in to set up the event, Randall says he’d do it all over again because “of the kids smiling. The kids having a good time, riding their bicycles, kids with their dogs; it’s all about the kids.”

While Randall will return next year, he says he’ll need an army of helpers. He thanked Ellen Burson for her tremendous help. “We love the community.”

Attendee Sage Brown told The Malibu Times, “We’ve been doing this parade for twelve years now, and it’s still amazing. The community comes together; it doesn’t matter what happens; it always brings our community together; that’s what I love about it. And watching the kids grow up, it’s special.”