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Kids' festival draws families

With a mix of exotic animals, circus skills, make-up and science, the event lures kids, parents.

October 07, 2006|By Chris Wiebe

MEDIA CITY CENTER — In a cordoned-off area on Cypress Avenue, a 200-pound tiger lounged on his side in the shade on Thursday, occasionally humoring onlookers with a glance in their direction.

A few of the adults and children lined up behind the barrier leaned in to try to catch the tiger's attention, drawing a sharp rebuke from one of his keepers.

"We bring Mungar out to events to show why animals like this don't make good pets, only dogs and cats and birds — those types of animals," said Pat Nelson, a volunteer at the Wildlife Way Station in Little Tujunga Canyon.

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Lucky for the spectators, no more than 100 yards away, Pet Orphans of Southern California, a pet rescue agency, had brought a few dogs who were up for adoption.

But the array of exotic and domestic animals were only part of the attractions at Thursday's "Fabulous Fall Festival for Kids," an event organized by the Downtown Burbank Partnership, the Burbank Town Center, the Burbank Community YMCA and the city to usher in the fall season.

"[Thursday's] event was great," said Downtown Burbank manager Gail Stewart. "It was a first-time event and we were thrilled with the attendance — all the kids that were just having a blast getting ready for fall and Halloween. Anything we can do to bring happy people to downtown Burbank is what it's all about."

Lined up on Cypress in front of Macy's Department Store were several demonstration booths: the Circus Academy, with spinning plates and hula hoops for children to try on for size; Make-up Designary, where children could get their faces done up with make-up and face painting; and Mad Science of Los Angeles, where three scientists in lab coats showed children how to turn liquid to slime, right before their eyes.

"Stir fast, stir fast," Awesome Anna — her mad scientist name — told Josephine Jimenez, 7, as she churned the mixture with a wooden stick.

Organizers and volunteers were thrilled with the number of families who came out for the event.

"I thought it was a great turnout," said Betsy Dolan, an analyst in the City Manager's Office, who volunteered on Thursday. "I loved that there were so many families there and I thought it was a great opportunity for families not only to get together and have fun, but also to visit our downtown and see what goes on there…. And as a city employee, it's rewarding to volunteer and see how the things we do are enjoyed by the community."

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