The sidewalks of Magnolia Park were crowded Friday night for “Holiday in the Park,” as several thousand folks turned out for the annual event that kicks off the Christmas season.
Unlike last year, when Magnolia Blvd. was closed to vehicular traffic, pedestrians had to stay on the sidewalk. It did provide them with a much closer view of the many shops along the boulevard, and on Hollywood Way. Nearly all the businesses were open for the event, which was held between 5:30 and 9 p.m.
Although the event was held on Magnolia Blvd. from Buena Vista St. to the City Limits near Clybourn Ave., and Hollywood Way between Clark and Chandler, most of the crowd was concentrated in the block between Catalina and Kenwood along Magnolia.
The night wouldn’t be complete without the “Jolly Fat Man.” Santa was there with Mrs. Santa and the elves in the parking lot of the UMe Federal Credit Union. The kids began lining up even before 5:30 for their chance to climb up into Santa’s sleigh and have their picture taken with the visitors from the North Pole.
Carolers in Victorian costumes, and musical groups added to the festivities. There was a brass ensemble on the corner of Magnolia and Lima, and a saxophone quartet near the Bell Cottage on Magnolia at Kenwood. The Arcade Building in the 3600 block of Magnolia had an “Artists’ Alley” featuring work by several artists, and a jazz quartet. The City of Burbank’s Park, Recreation and Community Service Department had face painting, balloon animals, crafts, and a play area set up on Lima next to the Bank of America branch. It was a big hit with children.
Theatre Banshee at the corner of Avon and Magnolia offered a sword fighting demonstration by SFI (Sword Fight Incorporated), filling the small theater with each show. In their lobby the Irish band Slugger O’Toole played traditional Irish tunes. In the next block Quisenberry Insurance was very popular with not one, but two carts giving away popcorn , plus balloons for the kids. Next to Chase Bank, the BurbankNBeyond crew were out video-taping interviews with people on the street.
Several merchants provided their own entertainment to attract the crowd. Alexa Jerred of Alexa’s I’ts New To You, was out in front of her shop playing the guitar and signing for the crowd. Nearby, the live models in the windows of the Audrey K Boutique had everyone stopping to look. Several food trucks were parked along the boulevard, giving the public plenty of choices for refreshments.
Everyone from merchants to attendees thought the turnout was good, even though there didn’t seem to be much advertising or publicity for the event. Longtime Burbank resident Nancy Hurst, along with former Burbanker Sue Bigbee, who was down from her home in Morro Bay, and Sue’s daughter Linda Walmsley, were at the event. Their husbands, retired Burroughs vice-pincipal and coach Brian Hurst, retired Luther Burbank P.E. teacher Rollie Bigbee, and Ken Walmsley, were over in Glendale at Burroughs High’s football playoff game.
“We’ve been coming to this event for years. We just love it, said Nancy Hurst, “I hope this isn’t the last time they hold it.” Her enjoyment with Holiday in the Park was shared by most people.
Although the Magnolia Park Business Improvement District (which levied a tax on property owner, not merchants) to fund events like this, will end after December 31, there is unofficial speculation that the merchants rather than property owners, will find a way to continue some promotional events in the future.