Del Mar’s 60th birthday celebrations wrap up

Current and former Del Mar City Council members gather at the 60th Anniversary city council celebration July 15: Henry Abarbanel, Elliot Parks, Carl Hilliard, Deborah Groban, Ellie Haviland, Sherryl Parks, Don Mosier, Terry Gaasterland, Dave Druker, Crystal Crawford, Al Tarkington, Tom Shepard
(Jon Clark)

On the official date of Del Mar’s 60th anniversary as a municipality, City Hall hosted a birthday party to start the City Council meeting Monday July 15.

Some 50 residents appeared at the celebration featuring a birthday cake, refreshments and appearances by former council members and mayors.

Monday’s event followed a much grander spectacle Sunday afternoon when the Del Mar Foundation in conjunction with the city hosted a party and jazz concert at Town Hall, the one-year-old home of City Hall.

An estimated 200 residents crowded into the hall for the festivities and music, while another 300 gathered outside.

On Monday, Mayor Dave Druker introduced the proceedings by talking about the significance of the 1959 incorporation. The primary obstacle that worried residents was the little city’s financial viability, which he contrasted with the situation now.

“Today, the city is in an incredible financial position, and that is again because of the way the city was founded, the way the community plan worked,” he said.

He also spoke of the city’s spirit of volunteerism, which persists to this day.

“We have more volunteers probably per capita than anywhere else, at least in San Diego County — probably the world,” Druker said.

Council colleagues talked about how special Del Mar was to them.

“This is just a wonderful place to live,” said Councilwoman Terry Gaasterland, a nearly 16-year resident. “We all feel that here. Del Mar is a place where university professors come together with other types of academics. Surfers come together with doctors, sometimes in the very same person. ... Where else but Del Mar do we have this level of interaction.”

Said Councilman Dwight Worden, a longtime Del Mar resident who was participating in the council meeting by speaker from Maryland: “I feel like everyday I wake up in paradise.”

Former council members and mayors who stepped to the microphone to address the council included Elliot Parks, Deborah Groban, Al Corti, Carl Hilliard, Don Mosier, Crystal Crawford and Tom Shepard.

Shepard said he was a council member from 1972 to 1976 during the period when the city drafted its community plan.

“It’s the thing I’m proudest of from when I was serving on the council,” Shepard said.