By Michael J. ARVIZU
La Cañada residents gathered at Memorial Park on Friday evening for the city’s annual Festival in Lights. Sponsored by the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce, the event featured food, music, snow, reindeer, and a visit from Santa Claus himself who arrived in a motorcade of police cars and fire trucks to switch on the park gazebo Christmas lights and take gift requests from kids.
Members of the Palm Crest Elementary School Melody Makers and Choirsters, Paradise Canyon Elementary School Chamber Singers, and La Cañada High School Chamber Singers entertained the crowd by singing Christmas tunes. Local band Misplaced Priorities also provided music. Elsewhere in the park, kids played in trucked in snow and got to view up close a pair of reindeer, courtesy of Windswept Ranch in Tehachapi.
“It’s a wonderful tradition in the community,” said La Cañada Mayor Steve Del Guercio. “The chamber does so much for our city, and this is just another example of the great tradition that we’re grateful for.”
La Cañada resident Reg Green recalled many similar events to Festival in Lights taking place all around his hometown of Manchester, England. An event like Festival in Lights, he said, gives neighbors the opportunity to meet each other and say hello.
“Manchester is a big city,” he said. “[La Cañada] is a small place, so this is one of those events in the whole year where the whole town comes together. This is a city with a lot of community spirit, I think, but we don’t meet each other very much.”
Altadena resident Kristie Savage attended the event with her family. Savage’s daughter, Samantha, 7, performed as a member of the Paradise Canyon Elementary School Chamber Singers.
“It’s a chance for everyone to be together outside of school,” Savage said. “It’s important to me because at school it can be just a lot of drop-off/pick-up and you don’t get a chance to interact and socialize.”
At Friday’s event, Del Guercio encouraged people who are looking for Christmas gifts to support the local community by shopping locally.
“The important thing is, there are a lot of great places to shop in La Cañada,” he said.