Closing Day hosts the return of two historic parts of Malibu Little League
Malibu Little League Closing Day was a celebration of the league, highlighted by the return of two iconic parts of the league’s history, the Little League Parade and the Malibu Snack Shack.
The Closing Day festivities began in the Malibu Village parking lot, as the lot was filled with a variety of different floats all decorated to celebrate the teams from across the league. Bubbles drifted across the parking lot while team flags were waved, balloons floated, and banner tassels waved on Saturday morning.
Music, children’s laughter, and parent’s cheers filled the air as the parade got underway.
The parade was led by a firetruck from Malibu Fire Station 88 and closely followed by City Council and Malibu Little League board members in a 1965 black Cadillac.
The parade rolled down Civic Center as spectators waved, cheered, and took photos of the children. The children posed, yelled chants, and danced as the parade made its way to Webster Elementary.
Parks and Recreation Commissioner and Malibu Little League parent Alicia Peak was instrumental in bringing the parade back to the city and she said the parade was a special experience.
“It was incredible, it was actually beyond my wildest dreams,” Peak said. “Everything went super smoothly, all the kids were smiling, I think everyone had an incredible time.”
She said she was happy to help bring back a tradition for her children that she enjoyed when she was a child.
“My gosh, they had so much fun. They asked me, ‘Mom, can we do this again?’” Peak said.
Malibu Little League President Nick Shurgot said the morning was filled with good energy.
“It was amazing, way bigger than I thought. There was so much fun, so much energy,” Shurgot said. “I believe for the kids it was awesome. They were over the moon happy and ecstatic.”
MLL Vice President and Malibu Dodgers coach John Alfano said the parade was a nostalgic experience.
“Goosebumps,” Alfano said. “I felt like it was the 1960s, riding down the street, seeing families out there with cowbells and horns, the bubbles in the air, the way everyone decorated their trucks, it made me wish I was a kid again.”
Once the parade concluded, the teams all made their way to Malibu Bluffs Park for the carnival-themed Closing Day. The day at the park included activities like face painting, photo booths, fun at the bounce house, and of course, baseball, softball, tee-ball, wiffle ball, and kickball.
Carnival-themed snacks were also featured at the park, including popcorn and cotton candy.
However, the food highlight of the day was the much-anticipated return of the Malibu Snack Shack. Parks and Recreation Chair and Executive Chef of the Malibu Snack Shack Dane Skophammer manned the grill, serving burgers, hot dogs, burritos, and more.
Children, families, and coaches flocked to the Shack to try the foods from this new iteration of the Snack Shack.
Skophammer was in the forefront of the campaign to bring the Snack Shack back to the park. Although the park currently has a temporary Shack, he is happy that the city is bringing back an important part of the league and park’s culture.
He said this first day of the new Snack Shack was a huge success.
“It meant a lot. We put an awful lot of work into getting this place up and running,” Skophammer said. “It was a whole community of people, staff, City Council, and a small group of very concerned citizens that made this happen and it was all really rewarding for it to all come together and see our community out here supported and to see them enjoy it.”
Peak praised Skophammer for his dedication to bringing the Shack back to the park.
“Chef Dane is amazing; this is all Dane,” Peak said. “He created the menu, he’s fought so hard for us at Parks and Recs since he brought this to the commission a year ago so to see that a year later that we’re up and running, and he’s on the grill, I say he’s an incredible man. We’re thankful for him.”
The Closing Ceremony was the culmination of the day, where councilmembers and city staff were acknowledged for their support of the parade, the Snack Shack and the league.
Among those acknowledged were Councilmember Marianne Riggins, Malibu Recreation Supervisor Chris Orosz and Malibu Community Services Director Kristin Riesgo.
The ceremony also saw players receiving trophies for their efforts. Awards included the Most Inspirational Award, Manager of the Year, and League All-Stars.
President Shurgot was also honored with gifts to celebrate his retirement, including a MLL letterman jacket and a 6-foot-tall trophy.
Shurgot said Closing Day was successful and is proud of what the league produced throughout the season as far as competition, fun, and memories.
“It feels great being here today, today is the perfect capstone for the season,” Shurgot said.
Alfano said the season was a total success.
“The growth was incredible. The kids played unbelievable. We couldn’t ask for anything more,” Alfano said. “We have such a great group of dedicated kids of all ages and watching their growth from the beginning of the season to the end, it leaves us speechless.”
He said he foresees the league to continue to grow next season, building on this season’s already impressive numbers.
“I would be shocked if we didn’t grow by 30 to 40 percent,” Alfano said. “The level of growth and competition this year, the amount of people here for closing day, having the Snack Shack back, having the parade this morning, I feel everyone knows now. It’s not just guys just playing baseball, it’s family, it’s community, all coming together.”