By JACQUELINE PRIMO | Reporter
Throngs of Palisadians, and Angelenos from far and wide, made their way up Temescal Canyon Rd. (with picnic baskets and beach chairs in hand) to Palisades Charter High School’s Stadium by the Sea on the evening of July 4.
They were eager for the much-anticipated Palisades Rocks the Fourth concert and fireworks after a long day of patriotic festivities, including the 38th Palisades-Will Rogers 5/10K Run and 67th Annual Fourth of July Pacific Palisades Parade.
In an event truly out of time, families spread out picnic blankets and set up beach chairs on the field as they listened to the live music and performances, spending the hours leading up to the fireworks playing ball games and board games and munching on food truck goodies.
People of all ages were dressed in their best American-themed clothing and accessories. Many sported red or blue-dyed hair and faces painted in stars and stripes.
The Pali High parking lot was laden with food trucks of all kinds where hungry concert-goers could get their fill of burgers, pizza, tacos, ice cream and gelato, hot dogs, salads and even lobster.
The bounce house was a popular spot for kiddos to burn off what was left of their energy before the fireworks. Families lounged at tables decorated in red and white stripes while clowns made intricate balloon art.
Kids young and old made a point of buying as many glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark Frisbees as they could carry.
By 6:30 p.m., the stadium was filling up with crowds listening to performances by The Westside Troubadours featuring Adam Topol and Tom Freund; Louise Goffin; The Palisades All Stars led by PJ Hildebrand of The Ooks of Hazzard and Amazing Music; Palisades Charter High School Concert Band; Dale Fisher; Lexie Rose; and Rocky Dawuni, among others.
Sophia Eberlein performed her original song “Palisades” to an enchanted crowd, after debuting the tune at the 2015 Mr. and Miss Palisades Teen Contest, in which she was a contestant.
Concert-goer Emerson Meehan, 5, a Castellammare resident who will start kindergarten at Marquez Elementary School in the fall, was hoping to see rainbow fireworks and was geared up for the show in red, white and blue attire, including a star-spangled necklace.
“I have a jacket, glasses and bracelets in red, white and blue, too,” Emerson told the Palisadian-Post.
Emerson was excited to watch the fireworks with her mom and dad, Michelle and John Meehan, who said they have been taking her to the fireworks at Pali since she was 3.
Emerson promised she wouldn’t fall asleep on the field before the pyrotechnics began (as she did last year), adding that her favorite part of the day so far was seeing the “dancing horses” at the parade.
Al Hassas, who lives in the Valley, has been coming to the Fourth of July fireworks in the Palisades off and on for 10 years thanks to the hospitality of his good friend and local artist David Russo.
“We like to come here for the great atmosphere, and because it has a little bit of a slower pace,” Hassas told the Post, gushing about the Palisades and the event’s “out of time” vibe.
Russo was camped out on a picnic blanket at the 50-yard line with his sketchbook in hand, working on this year’s Fourth of July artwork—an 18-year tradition of creating a new piece at the stadium every Fourth.
“It’s the Palisades, but it has a hometown, sort of country feel,” Russo said of the event.
“We always come for the fireworks, but we’re coming now for the music, too.”
The hot morning had made way for a quite cool evening, and as the time neared 9 p.m., the crowd tucked under blankets and wrapped themselves in sweaters. The excitement was palpable as the national anthem was sung, and veterans were honored with patriotic classics “I’m Proud to Be An American” and “This Land Is Your Land.”
As the stadium lights went out and the fiery show in the sky began, the spectacle was met with cheers from the crowd and honks from cars stopped on Temescal to watch the show.
And as the grand finale exploded overhead, an over-arching feeling of pride and patriotism closed out another Fourth of July in the Palisades.
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