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A bear-y merry Christmas display

December 17, 2005|By By Lauren Hilgers

House decoration awards will be handed out and participants featured on television.To decorate their store for the holidays each year, Samuel's Florist at 921 W. Olive Ave. employs a group of highly versatile bears.

Scaled-down bear statues have appeared over the years dressed as Santa Claus, tin soldiers and spent one year peering out of a gingerbread house.

"It seemed like a really good idea at the time," said Donna Smith, a manager at the store, "until we got all the ants."

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Each year the Burbank Civic Pride Committee holds a contest to pay homage to businesses and homes where, like Samuel's Florist, elaborate holiday decorations are tradition.

A group of 10 committee members ventured out on Thursday night to view entries that were decorated with animated reindeer, blinding light displays and winter scenes.

"There are so many people that decorate their homes for the holidays and we like to recognize them for helping make Burbank such a wonderful city," said Ellie Myer, chairwoman of the civic pride committee. "It's just amazing the amount of time some of these people put into decorating."

Outside of Keith LaPrath's home on the 500 block of North Florence Street, a fleet of animated winter characters has been growing since he started the display in 1989.

"I do it because I love the season and I enjoy building things and putting my talents to use," LaPrath said of his display. "The biggest problem I have is storage."

LaPrath also enjoys decorating for the response he gets from the community.

"I have people that come and stand out there for hours sometimes," he said. "They keep coming by and they see something new every time."

LaPrath, along with the two other award winners in the residential category, are old hands at creating the decorations. Ed Pape, who lives in the 1100 block of North Catalina Avenue, is a returning winner, as are Daniel and Aurora Garoian, whose yard in the 1000 block of East Harvard Road is blanketed in lights.

The display at Samuel's Florist was awarded first place in the commercial category for its scene of bears dressed up as angels.

In the youth category, Sade Robertson won the competition for the decorations of her home in the 2800 block of West Victory Boulevard.

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