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Women in Spotlight at Santa Monica’s Annual Independence Day Parade

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark


Rusty's Surf

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Jason Islas
Staff Writer

July 2, 2013 -- The Ocean Park Association (OPA) will hold its annual Independence Day parade Thursday, and for the first time in seven years a woman will be at the helm.

Police Chief Jacqueline Seabrooks has been tapped by the neighborhood group to be the parade's first female grand marshal. Since this year's parade theme is “Heroes,” Seabrooks was the perfect fit, OPA officials said.

“Heroes are so typically male,” said Lori Nafshun, one of OPA's board members and the self-described parade tzarina. “It's nice when we can honor females as well.”

Seabrooks, a 32-year law enforcement veteran, was tapped to replace Tim Jackman after he retired from the post in 2012, becoming the first woman to head the beachside city's 117-year-old police force.

Also, for the first year, the Girl Scouts -- instead of the Boy Scouts -- will be the parade's flag bearers.

The Girl Scouts “asked if they could have a turn, so we supported that idea,” Nafshun said. “It seemed appropriate when honoring a female police chief.”

The Parade will start at 9:30 a.m. in front of the Civic Center at Pico Boulevard and Main Street. It will continue southward on Main Street to Marine Avenue where participants turn toward the beach and head to Barnard Way, looping around back toward Ocean Park Avenue.

The usual turnout is expected, with about roughly 1,000 people planning to participate, Nafshun said.

Much of the pageantry will include perennial participants like the Santa Monica High School Marching Band, City dignitaries and the police and fire departments, Nafshun said.

There also will be students from a local Mariachi conservatory, a rockabilly group called The Americans, several biking advocacy groups and a few jazz bands, Nafshun said.

There also will be some not-so-ordinary spectacles. One group of neighbors will be “simulating” the running of the grunion, Nafshun said.

Through the spring and summer months in California, grunion -- small, silvery fish -- come ashore in droves to lay their eggs. “They run out of the water and they spawn and they sort of glow,” said Nafshun.

When the annual parade started seven years ago, Nafshun never expected it to be so successful.

“I honestly thought it would be 50 people walking down Main Street,” she said. “I had no idea it was going to be as big as it is.”

There really wasn't a Fourth of July tradition in Santa Monica at the time, at least nothing that took place on the actual holiday, Nafshun said.

“There was all this stuff happening on weekends,” she said. “There really needed to something in Santa Monica on the Fourth to celebrate.”

She quoted a line from a song. “The day after my birthday is not my birthday.”

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