This was the First Annual Auxiliary Award, and was given to a float in the Pacific Palisades 4th of July Parade. The Palisades-Malibu YMCA received the top prize of $1,000.
Judges agreed that the float was creative, original and whimsical. Cardboard artist and resident Cindy Simon had fashioned more than 100 “jugheads” using recycled materials. When landscaper Traci Price saw them, she suggested that they should go on the Y float.
Y Executive Director Jim Kirtley said, “Absolutely, let’s do it.”
Kirtley explained that “The Y is a community team, and our float was another example of involving the community with families and kids who decorated the float.”
Then, kids, group exercise participants, grandparents and community members rode on the float. “There were so many who are involved with the Y waving to us on the parade route,” said Kirtley, who drove the float.
The prize money will be used to provide financial assistance to kids attending day summer camp at Simon Meadow.
This was the first year that an award had been made for the best local parade entry. One of the Auxiliary’s tenets is Americanism and members are asked “to promote patriotic holidays.”
Auxiliary Unit 283 members decided they wanted to make the 4th of July Palisades parade even more memorable and hoped by offering prize money it might encourage decorating.
Members had watched two local nonprofits the Woman’s Club and the Pacific Palisades Task Force on Homelessness work at concession stands at the Genesis Open Golf Tournament to earn money, so they realized that the prize money is not only to incentivize participation in the parade, but also to reward those service organizations who give back so much to the community.
Simply by registering with the Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) and riding in the parade, most Palisades service organizations/schools/nonprofits entries were eligible.
All floats were considered. They included Troop 223’s Armada of boats, Theatre Palisades entry which promoted its last weekend of “Harvey” and the Landes Family with its beautifully decorated golf cart.
The Alphabet Streets Spectacular, which has been an annual float, this year included Sven the goat and several “puppies” who all urged for a Palisades Dog Park.
The Resilient Palisades float came complete with tips on how to handle the drought. It included drought-tolerant plants tied to the hood of the vehicle, and also provided “eye candy” to many with a semi-naked vegan body builder in the shower.
One judge particularly liked the Theatre Palisades Youth group. Actors danced and performed, and the judge noted “they were so cute.” Their summer show “Newsies, Jr.” opens July 15.
The Kiwanis Club of Santa Monica placed patriotic decorations on a vehicle and noted that they will be hosting a chess contest later this month.
Chabad sponsored a float with “happy” campers waving flags from the windows, and the Palisades Baseball Association floats highlighted the World Series Championship teams.
Jimmy Dunne led a group of Bocce Players as they “played” their way down the street with a makeshift bocce court.
One resident commented that it seemed like there were more floats this year and wondered if the prize had provided extra encouragement.
PAPA President Matt Rodman said, ““The Palisades Americanism Parade Association hopes that the American Legion Auxiliary Award for the Best Community Organization Float will become an annual part of the 4th of July Parade. We thank the members of the Auxiliary for their sponsorship of this award. We look forward to the diamond anniversary of the Parade next year, and the second annual Auxiliary Award.”