Holiday Lighting Plans Presented During Liaison Meeting

The Rodeo Drive Committee (RDC) is busy with a variety of events and projects on the horizon.

On Aug. 8, the Beverly Hills City Council Liaison/Rodeo Drive/Special Events/Holiday Program Committee considered the RDC’s plans for the city holiday lighting ceremony, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 16.

The theme for the program—which will include live music, the climatic fireworks show, elaborate holiday decorations, food trucks, a wine garden, stilt walkers, roaming street performers and more—is “Up, Up and Away Holiday.”

The Council liaisons—Vice Mayor Lester Friedman and City Councilmember Lili Bosse—signaled support for a street closure request from 9 p.m. on Nov. 15 through 6 a.m. on Nov. 17 to accommodate the ceremony. For the first time since the city started staging the community holiday event on Rodeo Drive, the city will be illuminating Brighton Way.

While the headlining musical performer  has yet to be announced—last year’s headliners were musicians David Foster and Katharine McPhee—much of the talent for this year’s program has been confirmed, including Jewish acapella group the Maccabeats; a barbershop quartet; a Bollywood spectacular; and the Beverly Hills High School Marching Band. Husband-and-wife duo Tera Bonilla and Cory Almeida are serving as the always high-energy event’s emcee and hosts. Founded at Yeshiva University, the Maccabeats are known for creating viral videos featuring covers and parodies of contemporary hits using Jewish-themed lyrics.

The estimated cost for this year’s holiday celebration is nearly $1 million. The cost covers three staging platforms—described as electrified performance zones—lighting, audio equipment, technical needs and video/LED wall elements. The estimated cost also will pay for opening night talent, fireworks, security, event signage and cleaning services.

The budget for the Rodeo Drive holiday décor is $485,960, bringing the total cost of both the holiday celebration and the holiday décor to approximately $1.4 million.

Funding for the Rodeo Drive Holiday Décor and the Rodeo Drive Holiday Light celebration comes from the city’s Transient Occupancy Tax.

Kay Monica Rose, the recently installed president of the Rodeo Drive Committee, said she expects the forthcoming celebration to be a “fantastic evening, bringing the magic and adventure of the holidays to Rodeo Drive.”

The Council liaisons to the Rodeo Drive Committee echoed Rose’s enthusiasm.

“You have my support, and thank you for making it happen,” Bosse said, addressing Rose during the recent meeting.

In addition to reviewing plans for the holiday décor and evening holiday celebration, the meeting’s participants discussed the RDC’s request for existing sidewalk security barriers on Rodeo Drive to be replaced with a different barrier design. An estimated 310 spherical bollards will be installed in the project area at an estimated cost of approximately $1.5 million. With the liaisons recommending approval of the bollards, staff is now moving forward with the design and bidding process. Installation is expected to occur in January 2024. Staff plans to return to City Council with the response to the bid.

Another beloved community event, “BritWeek,” is scheduled to take place in the city on Oct. 8. BritWeek is a nonprofit organization that celebrates the creativity and innovation between the United Kingdom and the U.S. while showcasing the beauty of Beverly Hills. The event consists of a car rally, and the Council liaisons heard a request for a waiver of permit and personnel fees for the closure of North Crescent Drive. The small 20-25 car rally, contained to Beverly Hills city limits, will depart from Crescent Drive at 10 a.m. and travel through several neighborhoods to allow residents to witness British luxury and classic cars.

The estimated cost of the event is $65,500. City Council will review and is expected to approve the plan for the BritWeek car rally during its Aug. 15 meeting.

Finally, the liaisons indicated support for a “Fun Run” taking place at Hawthorne Elementary School on Sept. 20. The Hawthorne Elementary School Parent Teacher Association sought approval for “Fun Run” street closures and waiver of applicable feeds for the school fundraiser, a joint effort between the city and the elementary school’s PTA. City staff will bring the proposal to the full City Council for approval at its Aug. 15 meeting.

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