La Jollans take new approaches to Fourth of July festivities

A drone show illuminates the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in October.
A drone show illuminates the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in October. Drones will be the stars of a Fourth of July show in La Jolla Shores this year.
(Luca Evans / Los Angeles Times)

The La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club will present an inaugural drone show, Bird Rock’s parade goes ‘Surfin’ USA’ and the Barber Tract block party will have new children’s activities.


Though Independence Day celebrations typically give a nod to the past, some of La Jolla’s festivities are looking to the future.

The Bird Rock and Barber Tract neighborhoods will put a new spin on their Fourth of July parties this year, and for the first time, the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club in La Jolla Shores will present a drone show to step in for a fireworks display.

La Jolla Shores drone show

The Beach & Tennis Club’s aerial display by illuminated drones will be a test run for future shows.

The synchronized show is scheduled to launch at 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 4, with a fleet of 100 drones flying about 350 feet above the shoreline for 15 minutes. The main viewing of the show will be from the south end of Kellogg Park, but it also can be seen from the surrounding park and beach areas close to the La Jolla Shores Hotel and the beach club. There will be no accompanying music.

“We felt it was important to have some kind of celebration for the community,” said La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club President Bill Kellogg. “For a long time, we waited for the fireworks to come back, and when it seemed like that wasn’t going to happen, we decided on an alternative route.”

The Fourth of July fireworks show — once a long-running tradition at La Jolla Cove — has not been held since 2017. Conventional fireworks are not allowed at nearby Scripps Park — the site of past shows — due to the seasonal closure of Point La Jolla that was implemented in 2022 and is in effect from May through October. The city of San Diego plans to extend that closure to year-round.

The fireworks display was not held in 2021 for lack of a needed permit or in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was canceled the previous two years due to lack of funding.

At the La Jolla Shores drone show, patriotic imagery such as a flag and “1776,” the year of America’s Declaration of Independence, will be displayed.

“This is an experiment … but when we talked to Jeff Stein, founder of Drone Studios, he got us excited about it,” Kellogg said. “They want to show the community what they can do. It’s a great thing to try. There are no explosive sounds and it doesn’t have the fallout [from debris], so it is a better thing for the environment.”

Those who would like to support future drone shows can make tax-deductible donations at

Bird Rock parade

Little pilots "fly" down Beaumont Avenue for Bird Rock's "Top Gun"-themed Fourth of July parade last year.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The 44th annual Beaumont Avenue Fourth of July Parade will start at 10 a.m. and proceed from Camino de la Costa to La Jolla Methodist Church. Community members are invited to participate by entering homemade, non-motorized floats.

The event, themed “Surfin’ USA,” is again being organized by local development firm Murfey Co.

Prizes will be awarded to floats in various categories and for the best-decorated house on the parade route.

Murfey Co. has formed a committee to help create a multi-year plan to make sure the parade has continuity of leadership in the future.

“The parade committee has been a huge success and the first step to create a solid continuity plan for the parade,” said Murfey Co. partner Russ Murfey. “The overall goal is to continue to include neighbors in the Bird Rock community to represent the family-oriented, grassroots feel of the parade that makes it so very special.”

Partner Scott Murfey said: “The proposed framework allows for multiple years of overlap to help transfer knowledge, best practices and good ideas. But it also allows people to not feel like they are getting stuck with a long-term commitment. Murfey will be here to support the efforts of the parade, but we are excited to include new neighbors and committee members in the planning process.”

The committee still needs one or two more members to help with “minor items this year and also to get an introduction to the group to help participate in next year’s parade,” Russ Murfey said. To express interest in joining the committee, email

Donations for the 2023 parade are still being sought and can be sent through

Barber Tract block party

The annual party will have a new focus on children’s activities this year.

“We have a lot of new families in the neighborhood, which is exciting because it was an older community for a long time,” said organizer Kurt Iuli-Kinsey.

Thus, children’s offerings such as face painting, a cake walk and an obstacle course (with a pizza-making kit as a prize) will be added to the lineup.

“We will start the kids’ activities at 9 a.m. and then start marching ... down Olivetas Avenue at 10 a.m.,” Iuli-Kinsey said. “It will be an old-fashioned festival on the Fourth of July where people dress up, decorate their dogs ... in red, white and blue. It’s a way to kick off the summer with the whole family. The little kids enjoy it.” ◆