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Holidays come to town

Magnolia Park kicks off the holiday season with strolling players and stores that remain open late to dispense food and drink.

November 18, 2006|By Ani Amirkhanian

Ebenezer Scrooge strolled down Magnolia Boulevard on Friday night with his top hat and cane in hand and greeted children in his crackly voice.

Except Scrooge wasn't the grouch that he's known to be.

He stopped to tell jokes and asked children what they wanted for Christmas during the Holiday in the Park Celebration and Open House at Magnolia Park.

Hundreds came out to join in on the longtime Burbank tradition that stretched along Magnolia Boulevard, between Pass Avenue and Buena Vista Street.

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Restaurants and shops stayed open late to offer refreshments and small tokens.

The event was sponsored by the Magnolia Park Property Based Business Improvement District.

Burbank native Rich French came to sample the pastries and hot chocolate at Porto's Bakery.

"There's a small-town atmosphere," French said, sipping on his chocolate drink. "It's good to come and reminisce about the way it use to be."

Porto's staff gave out free baked goods to patrons waiting in line to try the bakery's chocolate cookies, scones and other sweets.

Heather Hagen-Smith and her son Zachary, 5, and daughter Sofie, 1, walked from their home to join in the festivities.

Zachary stopped to grab a bag of popcorn that was being handed out by a local merchant.

"It's a nice time to be able to get out of the house and see people," Hagen-Smith said.

The Victoria Rose antique store also got into the festive spirit with Popo the Clown.

Popo entertained a group of wide-eyed children with her magic tricks as pirates roamed around the store, stopping to pose for pictures.

Cody Berake, 9, and his sister Laura, 6, watched the clown's magic tricks and reacted in amazement when she made a sack full of colored feathers re-appear tied together.

"It's kind of cool," Laura said. "The pirates are kind of cool, too."

The evening also included entertainment and music.

Dancers from the Red Chair Children's Production Co. in Burbank performed snippets from The Nutcracker Ballet.

Jean Gomez's 8-year-old daughter, Clara, danced as Gomez eagerly watched her on stage.

"We are having a great time so far," Gomez said, adding that it was his first time her daughter performed at the annual event.


  • ANI AMIRKHANIAN covers education. She may be reached at (818) 637-3230 or by e-mail at ani.amirkhanianlatimes.com.

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