DEL MAR — A variety of special events are planned for the communitywide picnic to be held July 12 at Powerhouse Park in celebration of the 50th year of incorporation. No doubt attendance will be far greater than the first organized party held on the beach at 19th Street in 1946 sponsored by the Del Mar Civic Association.
A report in the Surfcomber newspaper noted 600 folks attended that one. It was truly a community effort with a lotta residents either having a hand in putting it on or just taking in the festivities.
According to Tom Pearson’s memoirs to be published in July, the purpose of the event was to reunite residents after the hectic fair and racing season. Many had gone on vacation and rented their homes to racing fans. Easy to do because hotel and motel facilities in the area were quite limited. (Pearson is the only five-term mayor and his footprints are all over the city.)
Beach party attendees feasted on barbecued beef expertly prepared by Jess Breceda, who owned and operated the Hitching Post on 101. Pearson recalls that Doc Wheelock and Joe Frivalsky, who was a national football official, were the meat carvers.
A crew comprised of Bob Ourette, who was a major league softball pitcher, Dick Rosendale and Bill Owens borrowed benches and tables from the fairgrounds and hauled them to the picnic site. When the party was over it was their task to return them.
Among the celebrities participating in the games and enjoying the food were Lucy and Desi Arnaz and their kids. Jockey Ralph Neves who had just finished his home on 19th Street was also in the crowd
There was a volleyball competition and Steve Fletcher and Terry Lingenfelder were among the top players. Meanwhile, some families were competing in sandcastle building contests.
Darlene McKim was the official ticket seller. Menu planners and servers included Harriet Watters, Barbara Rosendale, Janee Frivalsky and Christine Pearson, the mayor’s spouse.
The party concluded well after dark with a songfest around a fire. Earlier entertainment was provided by accordionist Gaylord Marcello
Some of those early party participants may be attending on July 12. However, they will be enjoying the festivities and perhaps reminiscing a bit while others do the work.
Filed Under: EyeWitness