Palisades 4th of July Parade Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

Annie Helliwell was one of three skydivers, who opened the parade by landing on Sunset Boulevard to admiring crowds lining the route.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN


On July 4th, 2023, the “happiest day in the Palisades” arrived once more, in the familiar form of the 75th Annual Palisades 4th of July Parade.

This year’s theme was “Diamond Jubilee in 2023,” and was penned by Judy and Wayne Marcus.

Palisades High School marching band performed in the parade.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

“With perfect weather, the largest and most enthusiastic crowds we’ve seen, and good times had by all, the Palisades Fourth was a success,” said Palisades Americanism Parade president Matt Rodman. “Daphne [Gronich], I and all the other hard-working volunteers were incredibly pleased with this year’s successful parade, music and fireworks. We’re glad our community enjoyed the day as much as we did.”

Palisades Americanism Parade Association President (a volunteer position) Matt Rodman and his wife Rene at the start of the parade.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

Pacific Palisades Baseball Association float organizer Tripp and Kelly Nassour were equally enthusiastic.  “This year, more than ever, I think we’re grateful,” the Nassours said.  “It’s wonderful to be free of COVID. The Palisades is back.”

This year marks the 10th parade float organized by Tripp and Kelly. Like every year before, they hosted a taco party just before the parade. Thanks to their generosity, I was able to enjoy some of the party’s food, which was delicious. The Nassours also rode on the PPBA float in this year’s parade.

The 75th annual Pacific Palisades Parade began at 2 p.m. sharp, as the Adrenaline Nation Parachute Team landed on Swarthmore Avenue, diving from a plane 3,500 feet above the town. “It’s great to be here,” said team leader Tom Falzone. “If you asked me why I did this, in a word, it’s respect.”

The parade kicked off to a festive start, headed by Kids on Bikes. There were crowds of kids on patriotically decorated bikes forging ahead. Four winners received this year’s decorating award, a $50 gift certificate to the town’s popular yogurt shop.

Kids on Bikes is always a popular entry.                                                         Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

The Ronald Reagan American Legion Post 283, which donated $40,000 to make the parade and day possible were next in the lineup. Riding in the parade included Legion President Jim Cragg, Auxiliary President Ruth Wells and SAL President Larry Kirven.

Palisades High School Football players wearing jerseys took responsibility for carrying banners for individual parade sponsors.

Since this was the celebration of the founding of the country, America’s freedom fighters were well represented by the California State Color Guard and drumline. The 26th State Guard Attachment rode alongside them in armored vehicles, Brigadier General Peter Cross leading them.

Brigadier General David G. Smith of the Air Force also represented those who have fought for our country’s rights.

The Mountain Fifes & Drums is a youth music program and is a living history community service program for boys and girls.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

The Scouts of Troop 223 were next, mounted on several boats towed by trucks. Scoutmaster Mike Lanning, the 2019 Parade Marshal and the Pacific Palisades 2022 Citizen of the Year, rode with them.

Can dogs be patriotic? Owners of Paws N’ Claws, a dog grooming salon located on Marquez Avenue says they can. The salon sponsored hundreds of dogs that walked alongside owners in American regalia.

Fire Station 69, at the same time as participating in the parade, held a free hot dog stand just outside the station (I had some. It was very tasty).

The Oom PaPa Band, a local marching band, joined the parade with classic American marching anthems.

Floats this year included one from the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, which was decorated in children’s designs and one from Kehillat Israel.

Taeryong Taekwondo came out in uniform, members marching down the street while performing techniques and breaking boards.

Massive trucks from Hart Built Construction rode through the streets, blaring their horns in celebration.

The New Orleans Jazz Band, always a favorite in the Palisades, ambled through the streets, playing an upbeat jazz medley perfect for the occasion.

Another float this year was sponsored by Resilient Palisades, “Palisadians for the Planet.” People danced with signs and flags promoting clean energy.

A member of the Pasadena Bagpipes played on the route.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

After a lull, the Pasadena Scots came in formation, bagpipes and drums aplenty.

The band went before Parade Marshal Sylvia Boyd, who has been involved not only in volunteering with the parade for decades, but also recognized for her volunteer efforts by the Pacific Palisades Community Council.

Every good parade has horses, and the Palisades 4th was no exception. Groups of horse riders were present with horses and riders dressed for the occasion.

Bringing up the rear was the Palisades Charter High School Color Guard and Marching Band under the direction of Peter Ye and Allison Avina-Wyant. The guard danced with swing flags in front while the band marched behind them, playing a medley of songs.

Did PAPA organizers save the best for last? Maybe. More than 50 members of the Fancy Feet Dance Studio danced down the street to pop music, followed by the PPBA float.

As a lifelong resident of the Palisades, I always love to see the parade each year.

I love the town I was raised in, and love to see the smiles on faces as floats pass by and fireworks in the evening. Here’s hoping I live to report on Pacific Palisades centennial parade in 25 years.

Members of Fancy Feet danced down the parade route.
Photo: Rich Schmitt/CTN

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2 Responses to Palisades 4th of July Parade Celebrates Diamond Jubilee

  1. Karen Gidwitz says:

    Where was the optimist club?

  2. Plager Thompson-Audrey says:

    What an amazing recap of our beloved 4th of July Parade! Bravo CTN and Chaz Plager.

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