Balboa Island Parade Celebrates 20 Years

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Balboa Island Parade 2012
Lynn and Ed Selich with granddaughter Ava in the Balboa Island Parade 2012


What is it about a parade that people love so much?

I’ve enjoyed many throughout the world, from Pasadena to Wisconsin to Barcelona, Spain, and it never ceases to amaze me the crowds that will gather to watch one. Big or small, a parade brings smiles to the faces of old and young alike, no matter where it’s held or why.

Such will be the case again this Sunday as thousands gather to celebrate on Balboa Island along the red, white and blue swathed Marine Avenue for this year’s 20th Annual Balboa Island Parade. In a nod to its humble beginnings and ongoing tradition, the theme of this year’s parade is “Balboa Island – Yesterday and Today.”

Last year’s parade set a record with 108 entries that included the Marine Corps Color Guard, USMC Marching Band and Pearl Harbor survivors, a plethora of decorated golf carts and “floats,” vintage cars, kids on bikes, dogs in costumes, and an impressive showing by the Girl Scouts and Indian Princesses.

There will be a gaggle of Golden Retrievers, the ever popular Patio Chair Drill Team, local dignitaries riding in an jumbo sized Radio Flyer red wagon, and high school bands and drill teams.

The annual island tradition wouldn’t be complete without the Keystone Cops on hand, including former Councilman and Mayor, Judge Steve Bromberg, who will be there to keep the peace. Well, sort of.

This year there are a few special additions to the event including an block-long street after-party and post-parade performance by Dean Torrence of “The Jan and Dean Show.”

This parade is a family affair, it will be my fifth time riding in the parade with my hubby (his eighth), and again this year we will have our granddaughter Ava with us, along with our newly adopted Chihuahua, Charlie.

The parade was started 20 years ago when the old gas station closed and plans were made to erect the fire station. As things sometimes go, community meetings were held during the planning of the station and not everyone agreed, resulting in a bit of a rift in the small island community.

In an attempt to undo some of the damage caused by the controversy, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was planned for the opening of the station, preceded by a small parade that included participation by local businesses and lots of kids.

As you can expect, everyone loved the parade, good feelings were restored and an island tradition was born.

The island bridge will close at 10:45 a.m. so come out early and find a spot to enjoy the festivities.

The event is sponsored by the Balboa Island Improvement Association. For more information visit the website at or call (949) 675-1773.


Columnist and parade lover, Lynn Selich resides in Newport Beach. Reach her at [email protected] – she loves to hear your comments and story ideas!

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