Last night in Toluca Lake, the busy stretch of Riverside Drive between Rose and Forman was transformed into a virtual holiday lane as merchants opened their doors and welcomed strolling neighbors and patrons in for hot chocolate and treats. We are fortunate to be within walking distance of the festivities- we never have to worry about parking!
NBC weatherman, Fritz Coleman was on had once again to countdown the annual lighting of the Christmas Tree at the Toluca Lake Village Square. During his 6:00 news broadcast he took a moment to honor war veteran and grand marshall, Ken Vick, who had survived capture during World War II. As the wife of a service member, I thought that was pretty awesome! It's so important to remember those who have fought and risked or given their lives for our freedom this and every time of year.
Just inside the entryway of Village Square, visitors were treated to a complimentary photo with Santa Claus. This is probably the one thing my children look forward to most every year at this event. The big guy and tree lighting usually set up shop in front of the Falcon Theater down the street off of Rose, but I think this location has a nicer vibe for this particular affair.
Behind the Village Square/Ramsey Shilling office building, Pink's was serving up their legendary hot dogs and chili dogs as they do every year. This year we were lucky enough to get our hands on some because we usually miss out (yay us!). A block away Timmy Nolan's was serving up samples of their delicious irish stew. And up and down the street some seriously yummy pumpkin bread was being passed around. Other goodies included warm, salted edamame, Mo's chowder, apple cider at Trader Joe's and more cookies than you can shake a stick at in various shops in between.
The highlight of my pre-teen daughter's night had little to do with Christmas goodies at all- the neon green and glitter manicure she received at Tamara Dahill salon. In addition to gratis manicures, they provided face painting and a self-serve "haute" chocolate bar.
I can't say enough about the strong sense of community this event spreads throughout the neighborhood, whether you're a local or a visitor. All were welcomed with warmth and open hearts. I only wish it happened more often than once a year...