To Lead the Way as Parade Grand Marshals
Pacific Palisades Honorary Mayors Janice and Billy Crystal have been asked for an encore performance in the 71st annual Fourth of July parade.
“We are excited to once again be the Grand Marshals,” said the Crystals, who were parade favorites in 2018 when they dressed identically as Revolutionary leader George Washington, and traveled in a boat float, fording the “Sunset.”
The ego and alter-ego President said, “It was so much fun last year, working with our neighbors to create the Washingtons crossing the Delaware.
“And it was great seeing the thousands of people who lined Sunset Boulevard to cheer the parade on,” the Crystals said.
The co-mayors start their holiday duties on July 3, when they travel the terrifying streets of Pacific Palisades during rush hour in a golf cart looking at home decorating contest entries.
Although the cart is decorated in banners, flags and bunting, there are no air bags or a secret service detail to keep the co-mayors from falling out or to protect them from Lime scooter riders suffering from road rage.
Janice offers advice and encouragement to everyone who is considering entering the decorating contest this year. “Be creative,” she said. “The best homes are the most unique ones.”
Early on July 4, the Crystals will join the 5/10K Will Rogers Run with their kids and four grandchildren.
“One year I came in 13th in my age group,” Janice said. “I would have done better but my kids slowed me down.” (A Circling the News reporter reached out to the children for verification, but so far no luck.)
Then after recovering from their run, it’s on to the VIP luncheon at the Methodist Church, and the 2 p.m. parade. Billy offers this advice: “Cheer for everyone – and when you see the co-mayors, bring them a cold drink.”
Both honorees are from small towns in Long Island, where they grew up celebrating the Fourth of July.
Janice recalls people congregating on the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach, shooting fireworks out to the ocean and enjoying waffles and ice cream.
For Billy, the Fourth of July always meant a Yankees doubleheader. “We’d go to the hot, steamy Bronx, but it was always one of my favorite things to do.”
The mayors barbecue after the Palisades parade – and no feast is complete without Billy’s guacamole.
Both agree that Thanksgiving is their favorite holiday, “because it’s not about anything else but eating as much as you possibly can.”
But they add that “The 4th of July has always been special to us because it signifies the birth of our country and how lucky we are to live in our free society….and the hot dogs and cheeseburgers and fireworks at Palisades High are good too.”
Although they dressed as Washingtons in last year’s parade, their favorite President was John F. Kennedy.
“JFK was smart, young and vibrant,” Billy said. “I was 13 and just coming of age myself, so following the much older Eisenhower, JFK was inspiring to me. I often think of what could have been.”
“There are many Presidents I have admired for different reasons,” Janice said, “but JFK marked a turning point for our country.”
The honorary mayors said that during their two years in this role, “We’ve been to so many terrific events and gotten to know more about the heart and the soul of the Palisades. It was a special place when we moved here in 1979 and gets more special every day.”