Palisades Village Celebrates Inaugural Tree Lighting

By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

“Now that there’s nothing physically left to do with turkey leftovers, it’s time for the holiday season,” Co-Honorary Mayor Billy Crystal said from the stage at the Palisades Village Inaugural Tree Lighting ceremony.

The Caruso team pulled out all the stops for its first-ever holiday celebration. The crowd began to gather at 5 p.m. on Swarthmore, where Compass handed out See’s Candies lollipops and Porta Via Palisades passed around hot chocolate.

A few minutes to 7 p.m., with the park filled to the brim with Palisadians and visitors, the show began.

In between short speeches and appearances from the evening’s festive emcee, Disney’s DCappella performed a range of hits, including holiday favorites to tunes from “Moana.”

Billy and Janice Crystal cracked jokes about the California winter—lamenting on the fact that it was supposed to drop down to an icy 62 degrees that night.

The tone got more serious as Billy thanked Rick Caruso for what Palisades Village has done for the community.

“The energy that we’ve had in our new village these last few months has been extraordinary,” Billy continued. “Everybody seems to walk around smiling. This was a dream of [Rick’s] and look at what we have now that we’ve never had before.”

DCappella takes the stage.

Billy and Janice then introduced Councilmember Mike Bonin, who also praised the work of the Caruso team.

“Some people said they wanted a movie theater, they gave it to them,” Bonin began. “Some folks said they want an ice cream store and he gave it to them. The thing I said is I want a holiday tree lighting and we got it.

“So thanks to Rick and his team, this beautiful central square for the Palisades is … the greatest gift that the Palisades could have gotten.”

Before the crowd counted down from five to one for the tree to light up, the evening wrapped with the season’s first snowfall and an appearance by Santa, who is now stationed at his Palisades Village cottage for visits through Dec. 24.