Danielle Ariola, a broker associate/realtor with Compass, is in charge of the Kids Fun Run this year.
“It’s been three years, since I took it over, however because of the pandemic, this is my first official year in charge,” said Ariola who grew up in Pacific Palisades. “So, wish me luck!”
The Kids Fun Run was started in 1995 for kids who were too young (or unwilling) to run a 5K. Every year hundreds of kids, some as young as three, sought to emulate the older runners by running the half-mile race that starts at Alma Real, turning left on Drummond and finishing back on Toyopa.
“I became interested in the Kids Fun Run after volunteering in 2019,” Ariola said. “The 4th of July in the Palisades is my favorite time of year.”
She and three siblings Wayne, Chris and Nicole, the children of Wayne (deceased) and Mary, attended Corpus Christi and grew up with the Palisades 4th festivities.
Ariola attended college in Santa Barbara for architecture before transferring to the University of Arizona. While there she worked for the University soliciting donations from alumni.
After college she worked as an event coordinator, managing large event productions in the entertainment industry.
“But my passion has always been architecture and design which eventually led me to a career in real estate,” said Ariola who is now partners with her sibling Chris, as The Ariola Group with Compass.
In 2016, when her daughter was only 18 months old, her husband, Chris Klein passed away. She is thankful for the support she receives from her family and the community.
“Our hometown means the world to me, my daughter and my entire family,” she said.
“We are all very close and still get together for the 4th.”
Not only will it be a Kids Fun Run, but there will also be a family component because her brother’s kids Wren and Beckett will be running with Ariola’s daughter Aurora. And her family “has all been summoned to help with the Fun Run this year.”
I can’t tell you how special it is to share the 4th of July festivities and traditions with our kids,” Ariola said. “It’s important knowing they will experience similar memories that molded and shaped us all into who we are today.
“We have been so lucky to be a part of this community, surrounded by families supporting each other, and instilling in our kids the importance of values, all while honoring fun traditions,” said the Santa Monica resident. “It’s really magical to be a part of such an amazing community and I am very proud I now get to take part in creating some of that magic.
“My heart is here in Pacific Palisades,” Ariola said.
Her daughter, Aurora Klein attends Palisades Elementary and Ariola’s office is in the Palisades.
Currently, Ariola doesn’t plan to make any changes with the run. “Once I get my feet wet this year, maybe I will have a few new fresh ideas and will always be open to suggestions,” she said. “But for now, I’m just so grateful that my predecessors have left me with a very organized and well-oiled machine.”
For her the best part of this race is the obvious – the kids. “Their energy and excitement are infections and it really what makes this such a fun event.”
Only a month until the big day. Parents can sign kids up at Palisades4th.com. The cost is $25 but the price will go up after June 26. All participants will receive T-shirts.
“I can’t wait for the race this year,” Ariola said. “It is really feeling like we are back to normal after these long, hard years during Covid and we all deserve to have some fun.
“I hope we see tons of kids this year with record-breaking participation,” she said.