A little rain didn’t prevent Burbank’s Civic Pride Committee from choosing winners in its Holiday Outdoor Decorating Contest.
There were 26 entries this year and even though only two-thirds of those registered had turned on their lights the night of judging, the committee still found three outstanding examples of festive front yards, said Chair Robert Vincent.
Winning the Residential category was Ed Pape Sr. whose home is at 1142 N. Catalina St.
“We thought that was beautifully designed,” Vincent said. “There was a lot of sentiment involved. You could tell by the displays the homeowners were really into it. I think that between the lights and figures it will touch everybody.”
And if the display doesn’t warm your heart, the story behind it will.
Winning the prize was bittersweet for the homeowner Pape Sr. For many years, decorating the front yard was a tradition he did with his son, Ed Pape Jr., whom the family calls EJ. The tradition began when EJ was just 15. He was inspired after seeing the elaborate Christmas display at the Norton home on Florence Street. Every year he and his dad made new elements for their display. The son then decorated his own home in Santa Clarita after he married.
This holiday will be difficult for the family. EJ, 46, passed away on Dec. 10. He had suffered a ruptured aorta two weeks before and lapsed into a coma after surgery. He had had a couple of strokes and severe brain damage. The family made the difficult decision to take him off life support.
After EJ went into the hospital, Pape Sr., didn’t want to finish the display, he said, but a cousin, Ron Ayers, encouraged him to do it.
“He just kept pushing me and pushing me and helped me tremendously,” Pape Sr. said. “Normally I don’t let anyone help me with the display. But I allowed Ron and if it wasn’t for Ron, this display would never have been put up.”
Then Ayers urged Pape Sr. to enter the Civic Pride competition.
“When we won, it was just heartwarming because my son was part of it, it is what he loved most of anything — he was born on Christmas and was honored to be born on Christmas — and it was the holiday that he loved tremendously,” Pape Sr. said. “For me to win this year, for what we’ve all gone through he would have been so happy and I feel so honored.”
New this year are the twin candy canes at the curb. EJ had made one for his dad’s yard and one for his own, but the senior Pape talked his son into giving him both to keep the design symmetrical.
At Thanksgiving they put them up, but not without a little friendly arguing about their placement. But that was the humor they shared, Pape Sr. said.
“The last thing I remember is EJ holding up a candy cane and I’m putting it in place. That’s my pride and joy now. It’s the last thing he made and the last thing I received from him,” Pape Sr. said.
Taking the top slot in the Commercial category was hair salon Color Lounge at 113 N. Naomi St.
“It is really nice,” Vincent said. “The inside trees were beautifully decorated and this is the first time entry for the hair color studio. The design was really subtle but really nice. And at the very top of the outside was the abominable snowman. It was pretty funny to see that.”
The business is co-owned by Sai Hernandez and Grace Ilasco who worked together on the holiday design.
“When Grace told me we had won the contest, I didn’t believe her,” Hernandez said. “We had put up the lights just for fun. But when we won, it was awesome!”
The snowman is set up next to their sign and it has two pairs of cutting shears in both hands. There is also a star shower on the side of the building.
“Next year we are going to make it even more elaborate,” Hernandez said. “Hopefully we will have time for it. That’s our goal.”
Rounding out the competition was George Wyatt, 11, who won the Youth category. The house is at 841 Frederic St.
The Edison Elementary School fifth-grader also won the Civic Pride’s Halloween Decorating Contest this year. This was the first year he entered the Holiday Outdoor Decorating Contest. It took him and his mom, Faith Wyatt, about a week to put up the decorations.
They have placed lights on the house, candy cane lights on the walkway leading to the house and inflatable Star Wars and Disney characters in the yard.
“On one side we have Star Wars characters all wearing Santa hats — Darth Vader, C-3PO and R2-D2,” George said. “We did all the inflatables in one day. That was a workout!”
The winners will be recognized by the City Council and Civic Pride Committee during the Jan. 24 council meeting.
Judging took the committee about 21/2 hours, Vincent said. Homes that had been entered into the contest but didn’t have their lights on or were only partially lighted were given lower scores.
“Either people forgot or they thought we wouldn’t be judging in the rain, but we go regardless,” he said adding that from what judges could see they would have been in good contention for the top prizes. “It was so sad that there were dozens of beautiful homes we saw that hadn’t entered the contest.”
For next year, the Civic Pride Committee is thinking about a new category titled Neighborhood.
“That way they can enter as a neighborhood and use one address,” Vincent said.
2016 Holiday Decorating Contest Entries
1) 510 E. Verdugo Ave.
2) 1015 E. Verdugo Ave.
3) 630 E. Harvard Road
4) 1039 E. Amherst Drive
5) 2352 N. Orchard Drive
6) 1904 N. Niagara St.
7) 2112 N. Pepper St.
8) 1930 N. Rose St.
9) 1505 N. Valley St.
10) 1018 N. Pass Ave.
11) 840 N. Valley St.
12) 1131 N. California St.
13) La Providencia Guild of Children’s Hospital Thrift Shop, 3301 W. Burbank Blvd.
14) 2806 W. Chandler Blvd.
15) 1316 N. Catalina St.
16) [WINNER] 1142 N. Catalina St.
17) 630 N. Fairview St.
18) 3600 W. Clark Ave.
19) 304 N. Catalina St.
20) [WINNER] Color Lounge – 113 N. Naomi St. [Commercial]
21) 701 N. Florence St.
22) [WINNER] 841 N. Frederic St. [Youth]
23) 830 N. Lamer St.
24) 718 N. Lamer St.
25) 651 S. Orchard Drive
26) 417 N. Sparks St.