Jack McGrath, a former president of the Studio City Chamber of Commerce and a communications specialist, announced Tuesday that he plans to revive the which volunteers from the Studio City Residents Association have decided to.
“I’ve checked with key members of the community and they seem to want to have a parade, and I’m sure it can be done,” said McGrath, who detailed a list of events with high-profile public figures that he organized in years past, including a popular First Fridays Club.
McGrath, also a former columnist for , said his idea would consist of a show prior to a parade on the first Sunday of December, which this year is Dec. 4. He said the parade would honor Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza as past Studio City parades have done.
“I don’t know what it means to have a ‘holiday’ parade, we might as well spell out what we’re talking about,” said McGrath.
The Studio City Holiday Parade was canceled last year due to overwhelming work needed by the volunteers at the Residents Association.
“This is an enormous amount of man hours and there are a lot of costs involved,” said SCRA president Alan Dymond, who said it was with great regret that the Residents Association again canceled the parade after taking it over from the Studio City Chamber of Commerce. “It would be great to see a parade happen, and I did talk to Jack, but I was noncommittal, and I am waiting to see a proposal.”
Dymond’s group was going to have an alternative holiday offering for the community instead of a parade, but no specific plans have been made. “We were in the middle of planning our alternative, but we will see if what we are going to do can coincide with whatever Jack is planning or how we can work together.”
A sticking point with John Walker, president of the Studio City Neighborhood Council, is if the parade becomes a for-profit venture in any way, which could limit how the council gets involved.
“He [McGrath] called me and talked about doing the parade and I thought it was a great idea, but there may be some restrictions depending on what he is proposing,” Walker said. “I am waiting to see what the SCRA thinks about his plan and if they are all for it, and then I will go to the city attorney’s office and see if we can be involved and then I will ask the board for the money.”
McGrath said he is asking for a commitment of $5,000 from the four major civic groups in Studio City—the Neighborhood Council, the Residents Association, the and the Studio City Chamber of Commerce. He said he would also involve businesses and look for official hotels, restaurants and other businesses to get involved.
At one point, Walker, a movie producer, entertained the idea of producing the parade himself, with , but Walker said, “It’s a big job, it’s tougher than producing a movie. I did not have the time to sacrifice for such a big project.”
Dymond warned that there are costs with using the city streets and permits required that council members helped with slush funds in the past. “That kind of assistance no longer exists,” Dymond said.
Ray Franco, president of the Studio City Improvement Association, the Business Improvement District for Studio City, said, “Our organization has always supported the parade no matter who has run it. Our group has always supported it.”
He added, “We’ll let the Residents Association take the lead on this because it has been their project.”
McGrath was the Chamber of Commerce president in 2004 and at that time hosted and emceed the Holiday Parade warm-up in a pre-parade live show. He interviewed all the VIPs, and said he would be executive producer.
McGrath said he would limit his own personal fee at $10,000 and that any remaining money could be offered to local charities or schools.
“Since I was a little boy living on Pacoima Court in Studio City with my six brothers and sisters, I can always remember a special then-called Christmas Parade along famed Ventura Boulevard,” McGrath said in a letter to the Chamber of Commerce.