The Beaumont Avenue 4th of July Parade looked very different in 1980 than it does today. Barbara and Buddy Murfey — along with four other young families in Bird Rock — started the parade when their sons Russ and Scott were toddlers. Now fully-grown adults with kids of their own, the brothers have continued the neighborhood tradition their parents helped start so many years ago.
“It was a real neighborhood event,” Scott Murfey said. “I looked at some old photos, and it’s hilarious because the parade route is really empty. Now when you look at it, it’s like a sardine can.”
“Yeah, it’s gotten a lot more bureaucratic,” Russ Murfey joked. “We’ve got to get a permit now, trash cans and porta-potties and fire extinguishers. The police come, we close the streets, and it’s just a lot more logistics.”
Over the past four decades, the parade has gone from a neighborhood quirk to a community-wide event with trophies, themes and nearly 5,000 people in attendance. This year’s theme is “Oh, The Places You’ll Go! A Dr. Seuss Experience!,” which was chosen by last year’s first-place parade winner Tom Nowaczy, who felt the choice “represented both the Bird Rock and greater La Jolla community.”
“It’s a tribute to him as a San Diego legend, and it’s about the children and how they have transformed from 40 years ago to where they are today. Children who are now working and doing all sorts of fun stuff for the community and the world.”
As kids who grew up in the parade themselves, Scott and Russ Murfey remember dressing up for themes like Huckleberry Finn and seeing real horses ride through the streets of Bird Rock for a cowboy-themed parade. They even got their family dog, a Labrador retriever named Katie, in on the fun.
“I remember getting our dog dressed up one time,” Scott Murfey said. “She had to wear this funny clown outfit with a hat.”
“The floats were really extravagant when we were younger,” Russ Murfey said. “I just always remember it being a really exciting day.”
Even more exciting to the Murfey brothers is being able to bring their kids to the parade. Both Scott and Russ Murfey have three boys.
“We see them loving it like we loved it and having lots of fun,” Scott Murfey said. “It’s something that’s really special for them as well.”
The 40th-annual Beaumont Avenue Forth of July Parade will start at 10 a.m., July 4 at Beaumont Avenue and Camino de la Costa in Bird Rock. Registration and float entry begins at 9:15 a.m. at the same location. There are no motorized vehicles allowed in the parade, and no entrance fee is required. However, donations are appreciated and needed to fund the parade.
The first place winner of the parade will be awarded the honor to select next year’s theme, and additional trophies will be handed out to other outstanding floats. The awards ceremony and parade afterparty will take place in the cul-de-sac behind La Jolla Methodist Church with food and activities.
For more information and to donate to the parade, visit gofundme.com/2019birdrockparade.