Patriotism and local pride come together in the finest of local traditions
By Christina Campodonico
Who says the Left Coast can’t throw a celebration of American patriotism to beat the band?
The Westside bleeds red, white and blue on July 4, beginning with the annual Westchester Fourth of July Parade and continuing with bigly — er, big-league — fireworks celebrations in Marina del Rey and Culver City.
Here’s what you need to know:
Westchester Fourth of July Parade
Beginning as a one-off celebration of the new millennium, the Westchester Fourth of July Parade has since grown into a destination family event highlighting Westchester’s active community organizations and strong neighborhood bonds. It’s almost like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life.
The parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at Westchester Park (7000 W. Manchester Blvd.) and travels north on Loyola Boulevard, crossing the main showcase area at Loyola and West 83rd Street before wrapping up at 1 p.m. on the Loyola Marymount University campus.
This year’s theme, “An American Adventure,” is the brainchild of Westchester Lutheran School seventh-grader Emily Yeow. Westchester Lutheran’s volunteer-built float entries — last year, a collage of local landmarks below an LAX and Hughes Aircraft Co.-inspired model plane — are consistently among parade highlights, as are floats by Otis College of Art and Design and the Emerson Avenue Community Garden Club. Local celebrities, marching bands and dancing charro horses are also part of the experience.
For more information, call parade sponsors the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce at (310) 645-5151 or visit laxcoastal.com/parade.
Marina del Rey Fourth of July Fireworks Celebration
From free outdoor concerts to the recent ARTsea celebration, the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors hosts a number of spectacular events in Marina del Rey each year. The annual fireworks celebration — a 20-minute pyrotechnic spectacle over the main channel of the harbor at precisely 9 p.m. — remains a consistent community favorite.
Anywhere with a clear view of the channel will do, but top viewing areas include Burton Chace Park (13650 Mindanao Way) or Fisherman’s Village (13755 Fiji Way), where visitors can hear synchronized patriotic tunes to go with the main attraction’s bangs, booms, oohs and ahs.
Parking in county lots runs $7 to $15, but expect spaces to fill up fast. It’s best to arrive early and consider carpooling, ridesharing or public transit. The free beach shuttle runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., the water bus from 11 a.m. to midnight ($1), and the Marina del Rey Free Ride electric shuttle will continue running a little after 9 p.m. If you see a shuttle, flag it down or text your pick up location to (323) 435-5000.
Culver City Fourth of July Fireworks Show
The Exchange Club of Culver City’s annual fundraising pyrotechnic spectacular at West L.A. College was already grand, but this year it’s getting even grander in honor of Culver City’s centennial celebrations.
The fireworks go off at 9:10 p.m., but show up as early as 4 p.m. to take part in a festival with live rock tunes, food trucks, prize raffles and a KidZone with games and play activities. Picnic baskets are welcome, but there’s no alcohol — or pets — allowed.
In honor of the centennial, a color guard dressed in vintage uniforms announces the fireworks show, and visitors can check out and take selfies with a World War I-era tank.
The event raises funds for the club’s local philanthropy efforts benefitting youth and the elderly, so adults must donate $5 to enter. Use Culver City public transit or park on campus for $10, entering via Jefferson Boulevard. For more information, visit culvercityfireworksshow.com.