You can’t cancel Christmas for the neighbors of North Evergreen. This past Saturday, December 19th, two friends and neighbors banded together to bring Christmas joy to the families of the community. Bryan Zweigart dressed as Santa Claus while Brian Gogerty dawned a green Grinch outfit. Together they patrolled the neighborhood with Christmas music, lights and a very jolly “Ho Ho Ho.”
The idea was sparked by Zweigart who was disappointed that his 8 year old daughter would not be able to see Santa in person this year. He promised her Santa would visit and he refused to let her down. Zweigart purchased a Santa suit and gathered his friends to get in on the fun. He told his daughter he was at work late that evening so that he could go undercover as St. Nick. Their friend, Chris Squier, drove Zweigart and Gogerty around in a decorated white pick up truck.
At first they were just going to visit Zweigart’s daughter but the idea of spreading the joy to all of the neighbors was exactly what the community needed right now. “I wanted to spread cheer and give back in the way I could. We as adults persevere, but a big brunt of all this is being felt by the kids. This made people feel normal, if only for a moment,” said Zweigart. The idea was then posted, along with a map of the route they were planning to follow, on the Neighbors of N. Evergreen facebook group. The group was awarded a certificate from the City of Burbank in 2019 after being named one the top 10 Nicest Places according to Good Morning America.
For it being a last minute idea and only being posted the day before the drive by, a few hundred people made it out to their porches and lawns to wave. They slowly drove down 30 blocks starting on Pepper St. by KFC before ending at Clybourn and finishing it off by driving down Edison. It was a great experience and I can’t wait to do it again next year. I loved seeing all the kids and families smiling and waving. It was heartwarming and I absolutely loved being the Grinch…the good version,” laughs Gogerty.
On the night of the holiday drive by, families set up chairs in their front lawns, dressed up in holiday attire, and danced and waved as Santa and the Grinch passed by. “We heard music coming from a street over, so we knew Santa was on his way. Kids were so excited when we saw bright lights down the street. They jumped, screamed and smiled when Santa and the Grinch rolled by, “said neighbor, Jane Hur. “Thank you to Brian, Bryan, and crew for this super sweet holiday surprise,” added Hur. “We are so thankful that our neighbors came together to spread Christmas spirit and joy to our family,” said another neighbor, Talia Zavala.
The neighbors were overjoyed by the event and hope for it to be a yearly tradition in the N Evergreen area. “The kids dancing and hollering for Santa will leave a lasting warmth in my heart,” said Zweigart.