If you saw a group of people on Easter last year wearing bunny suits and pulling Santa’s sleigh down Newell Street, then you have already encountered Liz Simmons and her friends.

Simmons and her buddy, Carrie Funderburk, orchestrated last year’s inaugural parade in the Hollywood/Santa Monica neighborhood, dubbed by Simmons as “the very first ever Newellian Easter Parade!”

This year, Newell Street residents (who call themselves Newellians, if you hadn’t already figured that out) are putting on the “the very second ever Newellian Easter Parade.” Like last year, it will have floats, Easter egg hunts and an after party, but kids aren’t the only ones getting in on the action — there will be an adult Easter egg hunt, too (pushing and shoving strongly encouraged).

The idea for the parade came to Simmons one night when she and a few of her friends were hanging out. It didn’t take long for Simmons and Funderburk to make it a reality. But they needed more bunny suits than Simmons had on hand, so Funderburk’s mother (who is also a Newellian) became the official bunny suit costume maker.

“We went to the fabric store and bought hundreds of dollars worth of fleece in the brightest of all colors and patterns,” Funderburk says “And we dumped them on my mom, and Liz and I sat on the floor cutting out all the patterns, and my mom started sewing like a maniac.”

Twelve floats later — as well as a number of decorated wagons, motorcycles, golf carts and even one guy who rode a little bike and pulled a pink bunny on a skateboard behind him — the parade was a success.

Realizing a good thing when they saw it, the Hollywood/Santa Monica Neighborhood Association recently voted Simmons its social director. While the neighborhood association is taking part in the Easter egg hunt activities, Funderburk points out: “The neighborhood association is absolutely supportive, but Liz is very clear when she says it is the ‘second ever Newellian Easter parade.’”

This year the Newell crew has been busy making four-foot plywood bunnies to rent out to yards all over Hollywood/Santa Monica, both advertising the parade and raising money to help cover expenses. The wooden bunnies are hard to miss — bright pink, blue, green, yellow and even some “evil” bunnies by request, Simmons says.

Funderburk was nervous that last year’s parade wouldn’t be a success, but she says Simmons never faltered.

“Liz never lacked any confidence, and I admire her,” Funderburk says. “She said this was going to be the best ever, and with Liz, the more you get to know her, everything is the best ever.”

when/ Sunday, April 8, 3 p.m.
where/ The parade starts at Newell and San Mateo and ends at Newell and Santa Fe
how to participate/ The entry fee is two dozen candy-filled Easter eggs; obtain an application by sending an email to Liz Simmons at liz@lizzyland.com or visiting hsmna.org/events.htm

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