July 16, 2007

a south bay fourth

So a couple weeks ago I posted a teaser about July 4th in the South Bay, but then never had a chance to follow up with the details as the trip to San Francisco filled up both my time and the blog!... So, stepping back a few days...

For years everyone I know in LA always complained that nothing goes on here on the 4th. Now that I live in the Beach Cities (Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo), I've learned what I was missing out on. The stretch of beach at that runs the three towns becomes one big party. And my favorite tradition of them all is the Hermosa Beach Iron Man. The Iron Man has existed for a third as long as Hermosa Beach has, yet as Hermosa turns more and more into a haven for the suburban BMW/Olive-Gardeniate-mansion types, the tradition finds itself threatened. For their Ironman, 300 guys and girls run a mile on the beach, paddle a mile on a surfboard, and then down a six pack of beer. The first to hold down the six pack for twenty minutes without ralphing wins the competition. It seems the women competitors often win or at least give the guys a good run for their money. But the fun of the event is less about the winners (despite their being hoisted aloft by the crowd) but more about the spectacle it creates. Considering the size of the crowd, its surprisingly funloving and peaceful. Sure its senseless and arguably vulgar, but I hope Hermosa doesn't lose this bit of its character and tradition as it continues to turn into homogenous suburban sprawl.

After the Iron Man, we were, well...thirsty! So we dropped into the Poopdeck before biking down to Naja's in Redondo for some food and beers. We decided to try our hand at skeeball in the arcade, but never ended up with enough tickets to get the alternating Jesus/Mary clock. We capped the night off with Redondo's great fireworks display. Things had definitely quieted down as I biked the beach back to El Porto. God Bless America!

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