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On the Town:

Burbankers welcome the new year

January 06, 2010|By David Laurell

In 1907, a tradition began in New York’s Times Square that has since become a signal to the world that the new year has officially begun — the dropping of the New Year’s Eve Ball from the top of One Times Square.

The first ball, made of iron and wood, was adorned with 100 25-watt light bulbs, measured 5 feet in diameter and weighed 700 pounds. Since then, the ball has dropped every year but 1942 and 1943, when the ceremony was suspended because of World War II. Today the ball is a 12-foot geodesic sphere that weighs 11,875 pounds and is covered with 2,668 Waterford Crystals and 32,256 LED lights.

While Times Square grabs the world’s attention on New Year’s Eve, Burbank ushers in the new year in a similar, albeit scaled-down fashion by dropping the Burbank Ball. Created by Ken and Cheryl Cashman in 2003, the Burbank Ball, illuminated by 490 lights, dropped at midnight New Year’s Eve at the Burbank Elks Lodge on Hollywood Way.

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The dropping of the ball, followed by a midnight breakfast, capped off a festive Mardi Gras-themed New Year’s Eve party in which more than 150 Burbank Elks members and guests danced to the music of the Rick Vitallo Trio and enjoyed a prime-rib dinner.

Among those who reveled in the evening staged by Chairmen Harvey Ryun and his committee composed of Charlene and Greg Peale, Ken Harvey, Kathy Reese and the Cashmans, were Ken Pajan, Tish Sellers, Bill Boyd, Norm Furman, Elaine Paonessa, Ron and Ellen Anno, Debbie Marks, Ramona Higgins, Connie Tomei, Sue Miliaresis, John and Linda Valles, Dan and Caryn Berez, and Ken and Bea Wainwright.

On the other side of town, 2010 celebrations continued as former Mayor Mary Lou Howard once again opened her beautiful hillside home to celebrate the arrival of the new year.

During the 1990s and early years of the new millennium, Howard’s New Year’s Eve parties grew into elaborate themed affairs in which hundreds of the city’s formally dressed movers and shakers experienced a night that rivaled presidential inaugural balls or Academy Award galas. Reaching a point that she could no longer outdo herself, Howard has since scaled back her New Year’s Eve celebration into a more exclusive dinner party.

Among the revelers who joined Burbank’s first female mayor to ring in the new year were Mayor Gary Bric and his wife, Shelly, Airport Commissioner Don Brown, Burbank Water and Power General Manager Ron Davis and his wife, Cheryl, and former Burbank Fire Chief Mike Davis and his wife, JoAnn.

Others in attendance included Jon Howard, Ernie Burger, Jack O’Neill, Josie Kowatch, Kathleen Lindblom and her husband, Bryon Hillesland, Bruce Redmann, Max Andrews, Joe and Joy Valeno, Brett Loutensock, Ned Price, Bob and Lee Paysinger, Henry and Kirsten Okland, and Harry and Ellie Myer.


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