Six years ago, after taking off from Palomar Airport, a private plane crashed into the ocean northwest of Ponto Beach at the South Carlsbad State Beach. The crash killed an Arizona volleyball coach, Alex Meekcoms, and her mother and stepfather.
Alex’s best friend since high school, Phoenix resident Kimberly Elliott, promised herself that someday she would be married on the shores of Ponto. At 5:00 p.m.
On September 13, high above Ponto Beach and the Pacific Ocean, on the Sundial Overlook viewpoint, about 80 family members and friends witnessed the marriage of Kimberly with Andrew Hangartner. A balloon release in memory of Alex preceded the ceremony.
The Arizona couple and their guests then proceeded down to the beach to a dinner reception on the sand, complete with decorated tables, a bar, a DJ, and a dance floor. Friends of the couple said it took about five hours to set up the event.
After the sun went down, many motorists like myself, driving by on Carlsbad Boulevard (Coast Hwy.), had to stop to marvel at the hundreds of table candles and tiki torches that decorated the beach.
The Hangartners said their permit from the state park cost $1500, an additional $150 for the alcohol permit, plus a $75 hourly fee to cover the state ranger’s patrol time.
State Parks lifeguard supervisor Mark Allen was onsite during the celebration to ensure the safety of the guests. Allen indicated that State Parks encourages numerous public and private events on the beach each year, from surf contests to corporate events.
The Hangartners plan to leave Arizona soon and move permanently to coastal North County.