November 24, 2014

Topanga Days Parade Hits the Big 4-0!

 

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER

Topanga Days Parade Hits the Big 4-0!

Heidi Staun roared up to Pine Tree Circle on a classic, fire engine-red Ducati with her rescue dog, Sir Nigel Foo. Staun’s house on Old Canyon burned down in March, but she and her five children remain undaunted and they all rolled down the Boulvard in triumph as part of the 40th Annual Topanga Days Parade.

The morning fog cleared just in time for the start of the glorious 40th Annual Topanga Days Parade, the much beloved annual celebration of all things in the Canyon that can walk, trot, skate, ride or roll down the Boulevard from Pine Tree Circle to the Community House.

The parade itself harkens back to its roots during the heady, hippie-trippy days of 1973 with the community proudly showing off a motley crew of trucks, cars, fire trucks, bikes, skates, folks on horseback, motorcycles and anything on foot to celebrate the true spirit of the Canyon.

PHOTO BY LON HABER

Topanga Days Parade Hits the Big 4-0!

This year’s “Queen” of the parade was none other than Cloris Leachman, local Topanga resident and internationally celebrated award-winning actress (seen with her daughter, Dinah) who is raising Cain with her latest gig as “MawMaw” on Fox’s “Raising Hope” and has become a household name for her performances in both television and movie masterpieces such as “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” Young Frankenstein and The Last Picture Show, for which she won an Oscar.

While the total number of participants this year was smaller than previous years, the parade itself witnessed a full resurgence in gorgeous horses (two of them as unicorns), plenty of dogs and kids on scooters and bikes.

And candy. While, sadly, there are no more water balloons and squirt guns, there was plenty of candy being thrown from the floats, much to the squealing delight of the kids who ran out to collect it all.

As the parade lined up, like a Phoenix rising from the flames, the unsinkable Heidi Staun came roaring up to Pine Tree Circle on a classic, fire engine-red Ducati.

Still recovering from the devastation of losing their house to fire just a few months ago, Staun and her five fabulous children were undaunted, dressed as they were in their leather, fur and feather biker costumes.

“Thank you to the Fire Department for clearing our smoke,” Heidi said. “They showed us so much love and this parade is such an affirmation of our town.”

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2013

Topanga Days Parade Hits the Big 4-0!

Sarah Sutton of Snyder Sutton Realty led the "Pup Parade" down Topanga Canyon Boulevard during the 40th Annual Topanga Days Parade.

Meanwhile, Sarah Sutton and her group organized twelve adorable mutts for the Second Annual Snyder Sutton Pup Parade.

Even before the parade began, Mo Whelan adopted a three-month-old boxer/lab mix.

“She’s just the kind of dog we want; we saw a picture of her and just fell in love,” Whelan said. “We are so happy. We love the program they [Sarah Sutton] do. It’s amazing. Our son, Liam, is on the Cub Scout float and this will be the best surprise ever.”

Her husband, Matt Doolin of Topanga Art Tile, would also look forward to meeting their new pup later that day. In fact, people just couldn’t resist and by the end of the parade, Kaya, Squid, Riley, Loghan, Butters, Marley, Cassidy, Bernie, Mallory, Charco, Lucy and Moxie all found homes.

At the staging area, Topanga Cub Scout Troop 24 filled up a truck trailer with the cubs, heading to the Memorial Day Flag Raising ceremony at noon.

After the Cub Scout Troops rolled up the road, the disciplined students of Topanga Martial Arts filled up three trucks and performed a demo in front of the library.

Members of the Topanga Peace Alliance, who pasted political posters and messages all over their vans, also filled three trucks with members throwing candy.

The “Topanga Garden” truck filled up with Earth Children of all kinds, mostly covered in flowers, leaves and vines, perfectly normal in Topanga.

Watching from the street was Brownie, a Havanese mix who was with Luke Walker (9), Sean Walker (5) and their mother, Tamara Walker.

“How much do I love this parade,” Tamara Walker said. “It is the cutest thing ever!”

It was not just horses and dogs, but two Nigerian Dwarf goats, Catamaran, mom to two-month old Cupcake, who came to watch the festivities but remained wary of all the dogs.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, “The Queen” comes rolling down the street in a bright yellow convertible, the official Grand Marshall, of the parade, Topanga resident and internationally celebrated award-winning actress, Cloris Leachman.

With a smile from ear to ear, she lustily threw candy to all the kids and plenty of adults along the route, who enthusiastically cheered her on.

BEST OF THE BEST

At the end of the parade, the judges selected the winners:

Best Dancers: “Move the World” by Cecilia Stuart. They dance for social causes.

Most Spirited: Cowabunga Surfs-Up by Curtis Hein.

Best Creative: Mermaids and Surfers

Most Topanga: Topanga Peace Alliance by Michael Adler

Most Unique Equines: The gorgeous Unicorns by Linda Leonard

Most Talented Skater: Holly with Dead Head

Hottest Motorcycle Rider: Naturally, Heidi Staun-Saga & Crew.

PHOTO BY ANNEMARIE DONKIN MESSENGER © 2013

Topanga Days Parade Hits the Big 4-0!

Members of the Topanga Garden float down the Boulevard during the 40th Annual Topanga Days Parade on Memorial Day.

In addition to the official categories, I would add a few of my own: Cutest Kids on Bikes with Helmets or in Strollers; Cutest Pup Parade; and certainly, Everyone in the Parade and Those Watching along the route, get my vote for Best Community Spirit.

I would also add special awards to all-time parade stalwarts, Vicki and Peter Norwood’s Topanga Hauling with the Red Rock Band and Alex Wright’s Do it Wright Painting, celebrating their 40th year in the parade.

At the end of the parade, a huge cheer went up for the crew of Topanga’s own Engine 69. All in all, it was a pretty great 40th Anniversary Party.

“Another great parade with many regular participants and new creative entries,” said Scott D. Wagenseller, Chief Executive Officer Malibu Patrol in an e-mail. “Parade Marshalls were excellent choices that show the dynamic history of our community residents. We all have something to contribute to make our world that much richer.”