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La Jolla Fourth of July festivities to include parades, but fate of fireworks is still unclear

About 15 floats rolled down Beaumont Avenue in the 2021 Bird Rock Fourth of July Parade.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

With Fourth of July less than three weeks away, parade plans are taking shape in La Jolla. But whether fireworks or some other display will return is still up in the air.

Bird Rock parade

The 43rd annual Beaumont Avenue Independence Day parade is set to go through Bird Rock with the theme “Top Gun.”

Bird Rock Community Council President John Newsam said Murfey Construction is “once again nobly shouldering the task of organizing the Beaumont Avenue Fourth of July Parade” and that a GoFundMe account has been set up to offset the costs. He said organizers are looking for volunteers for the day of the parade.

Each year, hundreds of residents line Beaumont between Camino de la Costa and Mira Monte to watch the homemade parade floats, which will start rolling at 10 a.m.

Organizers say a party featuring food and entertainment will follow the parade.

Residents are encouraged to adorn their homes in Fourth of July colors or “Top Gun” decor. They’re also asked to donate $40 to $200 or more to help pay for the food and entertainment.

The 2021 parade was themed “May the Fourth of July Be With You” and featured about 15 floats as spectators cheered from decorated lawns and chairs. The 2020 parade was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Barber Tract parade

This year marks the return of the Barber Tract neighborhood parade after a two-year hiatus. As with past years, the parade will kick off at 10 a.m. with a resident giving a patriotic speech, followed by music and residents marching down Monte Vista, Fern Glen and Olivetas streets to White Sands and back in their festive red, white and blue.

“We’re excited to have it back,” said Barber Tract Neighborhood Association President Kurt Iuli-Kinsey. “This is a fun time and one of the few times we get to connect with our summer residents. We had a lot of people move into the neighborhood this year, so we hope they, too, will come out and see what the neighborhood is all about.”

Fireworks?

The conventional fireworks show over La Jolla Cove that locals have come to know might be a thing of the past.

When the California Coastal Commission granted a permit this year to the city of San Diego to annually close Point La Jolla from May 1 through Oct. 31 for sea lion pupping season, it placed a condition on the permit that prohibits fireworks “within Ellen Browning Scripps Park during the seasonal closure.” The permit is in effect for the next seven years.

The stipulation leads city spokesman Tim Graham to think “the fireworks are off the table,” he told the La Jolla Light.

Further, he said, as of June 14, “we haven’t received any permit requests for fireworks in and around Scripps Park.”

Representatives of the La Jolla Community Fireworks Foundation did not respond to the Light’s requests for comment, and it isn’t yet clear whether another location or another type of display is being considered.

In 2021, organizers worked until the last minute to try to hold a fireworks show. After state and city officials said in late June that the planned display would not be allowed over La Jolla Cove for lack of a needed permit, organizers said at a July 1 news conference that they hoped to move the show to another site, possibly La Jolla Shores.

But on July 3, Deborah Marengo, director of the Community Fireworks Foundation, told the Light that the show was off because “we were unable to secure a location.”

It was the fourth consecutive year that the formerly long-running La Jolla Independence Day fireworks show was canceled. It was not held in 2020 because of the pandemic and the previous two years due to lack of funding.

Earlier last year, a lawsuit was filed to try to stop the Fourth of July fireworks display, citing potential harm to local marine life.

The suit, filed by San Diego environmental attorney Bryan Pease on behalf of the Animal Protection and Rescue League, sought to bar organizers “from blasting off fireworks over La Jolla Cove at Point La Jolla, a sea lion rookery, which is an area where marine mammals give birth on land.” ◆