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On the Town: Golonskis' holiday party supports charities

December 31, 2013|By David Laurell
  • Enjoying an evening of holiday cheer and giving is former Assembly Member Anthony Portantino with hostess Barbara Sykes.
Enjoying an evening of holiday cheer and giving is former… (Photo by David Laurell )

With Tuesday evening the time to take one final reflective look back at 2013, this Wednesday is the day we look forward and begin a brand-new chapter.

Among the reflections of this past holiday season are those of the annual party thrown by former Mayor Dave Golonski and his wife, Barbara Sykes, which has become a Burbank tradition for nearly two decades.

Since the mid-1990s, this annual gathering has seen Golonski and Sykes open their Magnolia Park home to hundreds of the city's political, municipal, business and media leaders who, along with enjoying the evening of festive mingling, also have the opportunity to support the children of Five Acres Orphanage, the Kids International Foundation, the El Faro and Hacienda Orphanages of Tijuana, Mexico and the Burbank Coordinating Council's holiday basket program.

Among those who did the holiday mix-and-mingle while donating gifts and monetary donations were Mayor Emily Gabel-Luddy, former Mayor Jef Vander Borght, former City Councilman Tim Murphy and former State Assemblyman Anthony Portantino.

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While the Golonski/Sykes party has become a tradition when it comes to kicking off the local holiday season, for the past nine decades, it has culminated with the work of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., whose 82nd entry will be showcased to a worldwide audience as it floats down Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard in the Tournament of Roses Parade this Wednesday.

This past week, scores of local volunteers gathered at the Burbank Water and Power auxiliary warehouse to put the final touches on Burbank's float, "Lights… Camera… Action!" Among the locals was one non-local, a woman who showed true dedication to being on hand for petal-pushing duty — Rosemary Clower of Woodstock, Va.

"I'm a widow and I really wanted to get involved with the construction and decorating of a Rose Parade float," said Clower as she worked on one of the character's heads. "So, last year, after doing some research, I found the opportunity to be available here in Burbank. I came in for the month of December and really got hooked. The people who are involved with building this float are so nice and I kept in touch with many of them throughout the year, so this December I was back again."

Among those who made this year's float a reality were designers Bill and Carol Cotter of Granada Hills and Stacia Martin of Brea, the organization's president, Ginny Barnett, as well as Ricky Batt, Steven Edward, Jon Reeves, Robin Hanna, Erik Andersen, Linda and Brian Cozakos, John Hames, Jeff Helgager, Ron Hughes, Suresh Iyengar, Victor Luster, Barbara Williams, Cindy Symons, Bob Hutt, Janet Maier, Heather Brown, Erik Andersen, Janet Diel, Ryan Babroff, Burt Ballard, Henry and Jodi Gross, Leslie Monzon and Ernie LeBleu.

If you would like to get an up-close-and-in-person look at "Lights… Camera… Action!," sans its riders, television and film producer/directors Garry and Scott Marshall, the float will be on display on Washington Boulevard in Sierra Madre through Thursday, and then through Jan. 6 at the corner of Olive Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard in Burbank.

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DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.

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