Home Decorating Contest Results: And the Winner? The Mass Family on Alma

The Mass Family on Alma Real won the 4th of July home decorating contest this year.                               Photo: Morgan Genser

Ever since its inception in 2008, Palisades families have entered the Patriotic 4th of July Home Decorating Contest. This year, families from the Highlands to Santa Monica Canyon to the mobile homes by the ocean celebrated the holiday by adding flags and bunting to their homes.

The judges in the contest, sponsored by realtor Susan Montgomery, included the 4th of July Parade Marshal Denise Crosby and son Augie Sylk, who played PPBA and was signed by the Kansas City Royals in 2019.

“The toughest aspect of judging is not being able to award a prize to everyone who takes the time; who gives it some thought and then makes an effort to decorate,” Crosby said. “Since the 4th of July holiday is such a hometown treasure and has meant so much to our community, I encourage everyone to get in the spirit next year!”



The Mass Family displays the banner that proclaims they are the winner.
Photo: Morgan Genser

The Grand Prize this year went to the Mass Family on Alma Real. In addition to a banner that proclaimed them the top winner, they also received restaurant certificates to Port Via and to Pearl Dragon. For their skin care, they received Aesop Vegan specialty items and a manicure/pedicure from Rosie’s Nails.

Judge Crosby said, “I loved the winner for their clever and artistic use of a balloon sculpture. Very modern.”

Winning was a bit of a surprise to the family, because they were unaware of the annual contest. “Truth be told,” Pamela Mass said, “we didn’t know there was a contest.”

One of the Palisadian Americanism Parade Associations advisors, Rob Weber, was biking around the neighborhood and happened to see Ron Mass outside of his home.

“I stopped to admire the decorations and asked Ron if he’d like to enter the contest,” Weber said. “He said, ‘Yes,’ so I took a photo and entered it in the contest.” Weber said he did that with several other homeowners, including the Grigsby home, who was one of this year’s runners-up.

For this Fourth, Pamela and Ron Mass, who have recently become empty-nesters, “decided to get festive and step up our usual home decorations, since all of our kids were going to be back in town, and we were having a holiday gathering.”

Pamela has a background in environmental design and architecture, and before staying home with the couple’s three boys, designed exhibitions for the Getty and LACMA

But, “the [home decorating] plan was spontaneous,” Pamela said. “We did embellish the usual design with balloons.”

Although the balloons were professionally installed, “our family put up all the other decorations,” Pamela said. “I am somewhat vertically challenged so it was nice to have our tall sons back to help with the installation.”

The boys attended Canyon School and then Windward and “participated in too many Palisades sports teams to count,” Pamela said and added that two have finished college, and the third is currently attending.

“The banner announcing that we won the contest was definitely a conversation piece for our guests and went on display just in time for the 4th of July 5/10K race, which goes by our house,” Pamela said.

“We actually loved all the prizes. They were good ones! Most were from places we know and love, so we look forward to using and enjoying them and discovering some new favorites,” she said. “We were very grateful to have this unexpected surprise and very much appreciate the generous donations and the judges and sponsors who took the time to make this happen.”

For people who have never entered the contest before Pamela recommends having fun with it, and decorating – if it brings you joy.

“We love arriving home and seeing decorations on our house, whether it’s for the winter holidays, Halloween or the Fourth,” she said.

Home decorating judges included (left to right) Kent Sather, Daphne Gronich, Aly Uytengsu, Augie Sylk, Denise Crosby, Susan Montgomery, Tamar and Rob Weber, and (kneeling) Matt Rodman.
Photo: Morgan Genser


The Gold Family invited neighbors to tie a ribbon on their fence.

This year’s Joan Sather Memorial Sponsorship Award went to the Gold family on Las Casas. Although this is the first time they’ve won, Marge Gold said “I do decorate every year and it is very do-it-yourself.”

She said she has a box of miscellaneous July 4 paraphernalia and “I try to use everything along my front fence.”

This year was a little different because she put out ribbon in a basket and invited her neighbors to tie the red, white and blue streamers on her fence.

It was a popular idea and “I didn’t have enough ribbon, so I went to Michaels and spent $14.75 on more.” Gold said that neighbors of all ages stopped by to tie a ribbon.

The Golds feel that they won the Sather award because of the concept of involving neighbors to participate in the patriotic decorating.

“I was quite stunned and thrilled to win,” Gold said. “I would encourage other Palisadians to enter next year. It doesn’t take spending a lot on decorations or having it professionally done.”

She added, “The prizes were awesome.” The Golds received restaurant gift cards to Casa Nostra and Beech Street. They also received a gift certificate to Viktor Bene’s bakery at Gelsons, a certificate to Anawalt and another at Ogden’s Dry Cleaners.


The Grigsby Family received the second place award.
Photo: Morgan Genser

The second-place winner this year was the Grigsby Family at 805 Alma Real. They received vegan skincare products from Aesop, the new store in Caruso’s Palisades Village, a restaurant card from Café Vida and Viktor Benes. Certificates from Anawalt, Pali Barbershop and a manicure from Rosie’s Nail Salon.

There were two runners up this year, the Dekernion Family and the Almarez Family.

The Dkernions, located on Alma Real, received certificates to Delizioso Cinque, Viktor Benes, Ogden’s Dry cleaners, a Black Ink gift basket, Anawalt and Pali Barbershop.

The Dekernion Family received one of two runner-up awards.
Photo: Morgan Genser

The Almarez family, located on Sunset, received a restaurant certificate to Taj Palace, Matthew’s Garden Café, K Bakery and a gift card to Anawalt.

The Almarez Family was a runner-up this year.
Photo: Morgan Genser

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