Vintage yachts and classic cars take Burton Chace Park back in time

By Christina Campodonico

One of the stars of Old Fashioned Day in the Park is this elegant wooden yacht built in 1929

One of the stars of Old Fashioned Day in the Park is this elegant wooden yacht built in 1929

Marina del Rey may now be in the heart of tech-savvy Silicon Beach, but on Sunday the Classic Yacht Association is taking it back to a simpler time — when cars still required human drivers and boats were made out of wood.

The association’s 40th annual Old Fashioned Day in the Park brings more than 50 classic boats and cars to Burton Chace Park for a day of good ole-time fun.

The free community festival lets visitors explore vintage wooden yachts dating back to the 1920s and beautifully restored autos that run the gamut from antique Model As to classic T-Birds. The Los Angeles Art Deco Society also makes a special appearance this year, joining the affair in period costume.

Classic Yacht Association event chair Christine Rohde says Old Fashioned Day in the Park is an opportunity to go back in time and take a closer look at the artisanal styles that defined the first half of the 20th century.

“Part of the fun is stepping into a different point in history. … It’s one of our joys every year to be able to open the boats up and have people walk through and see how things were made when everything wasn’t plastic — beautiful woodwork and varnish,” says Rohde.  “It really does give you an appreciation for the way that things used to be made.”

Rohde points to the interiors of the Ono, a 1929 Dawn cruiser, as a prime example of the kind of craftsmanship that’ll be on display during Old Fashioned Day.

“It’s like you’re in a little Victorian parlor,” she says. “The little laced curtains and the brocade fabric and the stained glass and beveled glass cabinetry. It’s just magical.”

Additional watercraft on display include a 47-foot Stephen Brothers-built yacht from 1929, Rohde’s own 1950 Chris Craft Catalina (“Sparkle”), and the “Lady Isabelle,” one of the “Little Ships of Dunkirk” that assisted British troupes evacuating Allies from the beaches of France during World War II’s Operation Dynamo.  All have been fully restored to showcase and preserve their vintage beauty.

“We feel as if we’re custodians of the boats, not so much owners,” says Rohde, who hopes that inviting the public
onboard some of the marina’s finest and oldest vessels will encourage visitors from all over L.A. to embrace the marina’s boating culture and history.

“We want them to see how beautiful the boats are,” says Rohde. “Getting people out on the water is a very
special thing.”

Old Fashioned Day in the Park runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, July 24, at Burton Chace Park, 13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey. Free. Visit for more information.