by Debbie Cvijanovich
Mention July in Ventura and likely our old-fashioned 4th-of-July-by-the-sea festivities come to mind. We’re notorious for them.
As American as apple pie, so is the time-honored tradition of our 4th of July Pushem-Pullem Parade!
The Story of the Push’em Pull’em Parade
It was 1976 when the parade began as part of a bicentennial celebration. The bicentennial office, staffed by Faye Campbell and Judy Treim, created period costume patterns and sewing clinics for 1776 costumes. That’s all it took. A tradition was born!
Since 1980, the Ventura-East Rotary Club proudly sponsors the beloved annual parade. Commemorative buttons are still handed out (until supplies last).
Nostalgia… My memories!
Back to 2001, we proudly pushed my 4-month-old infant son in his overly decorated stroller. 2 years later, we graduated to a shiny Red Flyer wagon with wood slats and pneumatic wheels especially purchased for the parade. I recall pure joy bringing her home. For the next 4 years, that wagon made a parade appearance. One year in particular, my creative dad built a wooden army tank that encased the wagon. My son loved it!
Last year, my hubby and I (without our 17-year-old son) festively decked out our bicycles and rode the parade for old time’s sake. Seeing the joy beaming from all the young families brought me back to 2001. I’d be lying if I said no tears were shed.
That sweet (retired) wagon is still in our family. Not as shiny, needing a little TLC, but a much-loved reminder of fond memories passed. Perhaps someday, it will carry my grandchild… all festooned in the colors of the flag with granny by their side. I sure hope so! Another wonderful childhood memory made in Ventura, USA.
Oh, the memories! What’s your favorite memory? Please share!
Where & when to attend Ventura’s Push’em/ Pull’em Parade
The parade, 44 years strong, celebrates our amazing community coming together as one. As casually laid back as Ventura is, there’s only one parade rule: NO MOTORS!
On parade day, during the 9 am line-up, you see it all -strollers, scooters, wagons, bicycles, tandems, wheelchairs, skateboards and walkers- with embellished wheels and creative costumes! Alas, the patriotic pandemonium!
At 9:30 am, this explosive wave of red, white and blue overtakes Main Street as the parade rolls (literally!) on down.
All shapes and sizes participate. Young, old, four-legged -it’s a true blue family affair and not much has changed over the years except the addition of a few generations of the family joining in. Hence, it grows annually!
- Takes place on July 4th. Rain or shine.
- Wear your Patriotic best!
- Bring the entire family and friends, 2 or 4-legged!
- Strollers, wagons, walkers, bikes -anything you can push or pull is welcome!
- Just show up! No registration needed.
- Line up in Fourth of July swag on Main Street near Cemetery Park at 9 am.
- The parade kicks off at 9:30 am.
Fourth of July Festive Ideas
- Wear Red, White, and Blue (of course!).
- Make it tie-dye.
- Wear matching outfits.
- Decorate/dress in the parade theme: We Have Liftoff!
- Costume ideas: Statue of Liberty, Uncle Sam, Soldiers, Historical figures.
- Hats! Anything goes. The wackier, the better.
- Face painting and temporary tattoos.
- Bring noise-makers: bells, horns, tambourines, kazoos, music.
- Don’t forget bubbles!
- Load up on candy for throwing at spectators.
For more information check out the City of Ventura’s website.