Simons Family Wins Home Palisades Fourth of July Decorating Contest

By Sarah Stockman
Staff Writer

Less than 12 hours before the 241st birthday of the United States began, two golf carts filled with judges pulled up to 440 Toyopa Drive.

After making a trip to each house entered in the contest, and then intense discussions and lobbying for a favorite home, the group agreed that first place should go to Cindy and Bill Simon.

The Fourth of July Patriotic Home Decorating Contest, sponsored by realtors Joan Sather and Cece Webb, included last year’s contest winners, Jackie and Kate Hassett, and Pacific Palisades Honorary Mayor Kevin Nealon as judges. The contest has been hosted by the Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) for eight years.

Cece Webb, Kevin Nealon and Joan Sather present the winning ribbon to Cindy Simon. Photo: Matthew Stockman
Cece Webb, Kevin Nealon and Joan Sather present the winning ribbon to
Cindy Simon. Photo: Matthew Stockman

The Simons’ home took first because “The judges appreciated the clever, homemade look and the wonderful detailing.”

Indeed, as one drives south on Toyopa the first image one gets are three yarn-bombed trees sporting red, white and blue squares. Then one notices the fluttering American flags and patriotic bunting lining the fence. A homemade Uncle Sam and Lady Liberty flank the front gate, with Lady Liberty holding a flag that says “I heart America.”

This was the second year the Simons competed in the decorating contest. In the first year they competed they received an Honorable Mention. Part of the reason they hadn’t competed in a few years is that they often spend the Fourth of July in Cape Cod visiting their son, Cary.

The Cape is where Cindy Simon found the decorations she used for this year’s competition. Every time she is back East, she visits the Christmas Tree Shops, a chain similar to Big Lots.

“Everything you see here is from those shops” she said. “They sell a lot of tchotchkes, seasonal stuff.”

Cindy said that she usually buys a cheap suitcase at K-Mart and fills it with decorations. The decorations live in the garage until their appointed holidays.

According to Cindy, she usually decorates for the Fourth, but not quite to this extent. “Usually I’ll put up something, but not like this year,” she said. “This year I went all out.”

Trees were yarn bombed in red, white and blue. Photo: Matthew Stockman
Trees were yarn bombed in red, white and blue. Photo: Matthew Stockman

The Simons have lived in the Palisades since 1990 and have raised four children: Cary (35), Willie (29), Lindsay (27) and Griffith (24).

Bill works in investments and is also a professor of economics at UCLA. Cindy is the co-founder of Dollies Making a Difference, a nonprofit based in Southern California that makes dolls and teddy bears and sends them to children all over the world.

The Simons are very involved in the town’s Fourth of July celebration. For the past 20 years, they usually hold a donut and coffee party during the 5K/10K race, which passes by their house. They are also secondary race sponsors through the Cynthia L. & William E. Simon, Jr. Foundation.

“We’ve been race sponsors for almost 20 years,” Cindy said. “I’ve [also] been a parade announcer six or seven times.” This year she and Bill were the announcers at the corner of Drummond and Toyopa.

Besides winning a large first-place ribbon, the Simons also received a flag that had been flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. and a variety of gift cards generously donated by local businesses: Palisades Gas and Wash, Naturella, The Massage Place, Regal Cleaners, Goorus Yoga, Rosie’s Nails, Pharmaca, Fahi’s Skin and Wax Bar, isarose, BlackInk and the ATAM learning center.


Home Decorating Contest Results


440 Toyopa Drive
Bill and Cindy Simon


15234 Friends Street
Sean, Kristy, Rose, Kyra and Zoey Morris

Sponsors Award

527 Toyopa Drive Ellen and Kirk Hartman

Honorable mentions:

525 Alma Real Drive—Kagan family 833 Toyopa Drive—Mercer family (past winner)
1129 Kagawa Street—Bev Lowe & John Riley (past winner)
647 Toyopa—Richard Genow family 1122 Via de la Paz—Hayim Abulafia

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