Footbridge Square, a lovely old oak tree lined neighborhood in Studio City, earns its namesake from the footbridge at Laurelgrove that allows for the community to cross the LA River to Ventura Blvd, giving access to some of the best shopping, dining and entertainment in the area. The footbridge also provides access to the walking path along 1.9 miles of the LA River channel, which is a great place to take an evening stroll, walk the dog, jog, run, or just enjoy the two local parks that line the river, with their native plants, public art, river rock walls, ramps, and shaded benches. The Footbridge Square area is bound by Moorpark to the north, Whitsett to the west, Laurel Canyon to the east and Ventura Blvd to the south and lies within the district boundaries for the award winning Carpenter Avenue Elementary School.
This very neighborly area is best characterized by the yearly fourth of July parade that just last year celebrated its 40th year of family fun. Every Fourth of July, nearly a thousand men, women, children and dogs get decked out in their red white and blues to walk the parade route that begins at Footbridge Square. The Footbridge Square parade kicks off at Valley Spring Lane and St. Claire Avenue and circles around the area before landing in front of Art Altonian’s house, one of the more active organizers of the parade and subsequent potluck block party for the past decade or so. Art can be found at the barbeque, joyfully chatting with other neighborhood families who are flipping pancakes, or helping newcomers find a place at the table for their potluck contribution. Last year there was even a live band playing patriotic American standards in the driveway.
Every year the neighborhood residents put on a pancake breakfast and barbecue grill potluck, a tradition that has endured over four decades. Charlene and Art Howard, proud residents of Footbridge Square, began helping with the parade in 1972.
When interviewed recently by a local paper Art was quoted as saying, “Don’t feel bad about not bringing anything for the potluck… there’s a donation box. Come on out and have some pancakes!” The potluck also encourages donations of money or certified canned goods which enables the community to make a rather large yearly donation to the Valley Food Pantry.