Toluca Lake, CA – December 2023 – The Toluca Lake community proudly celebrated its Centennial with a spectacular Holiday Open House event on Friday, December 1, 2023. This unforgettable evening was a perfect blend of festive spirit and residential and business community creating a tapestry of joy, entertainment, and shared memories.
The festivities commenced with holiday tunes, setting the stage for an evening of enchantment.The John Burroughs High School Muse Choir opened the event with a stunning performance,delighting the audience and setting a festive tone.
Emcee Fritz Coleman, the Honorary Mayor of Toluca Lake and Emmy© Award-Winning Stand-Up Comedian, masterfully hosted the evening, introducing a lineup of dignitaries, community leaders and celebrities. Notably, the event was graced by the presence of Gabriela Agarie,Field Representative for U.S. Congressman Tony Cardenas, L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Assemblymember Laura Freidman, and Ret. Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, and Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian.
Adding further vibrancy to the evening were special appearances from Looney Tunes Character Bugs Bunny from Warner Bros. Discovery and “from the north pole” Santa Claus, and a photo pop-up from NBC/Universal showcasing their new animated film, ‘Migration’. A highlight of the evening was the Christmas Tree Lighting, adding holiday cheer and followed by a centennial car parade hosted by The Road Kings along Riverside Drive in the Toluca Lake village.
Local businesses along Riverside Drive participated wholeheartedly, contributing to a vibrant holiday shopping extravaganza. Over one hundred merchants/restaurants on Riverside Drive participated in the Centennial and Holiday Open House festivities, offering complimentary food,gifts, and entertainment to celebrate, spanning over ½ a mile from Sancola to Pass Avenue.
Starting the ceremony off were Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce (TLCC) President Erick Garcia and Toluca Lake Beautification Partners (TLBP) Chair Ryan Altoon, along with EventCo-Chairs Craig Strong (Compass Realty) and Sheila Melody (The Strength Code). The evening also paid tribute to Toluca Lake’s rich history with insights from Former Chamber President Tim Hawkins. The Garry Marshall Theatre’s artistic contributions to the community,along with those of the late Garry Marshall, were celebrated in heartfelt speeches by his wife Barbara Marshall and their daughter Kathleen Marshall, acknowledging their significant impact. Barbara Marshall has been a Toluca Lake Resident for almost 60 years and is also a proud mother, grandmother, board chair, and author.
Legendary DJ Rick Dees graced the event with his presence. Mr. Dees’ charisma and iconic status brought a sparkle to the evening. Known for his unparalleled contributions to radio and music, Rick Dees’ participation highlighted the event significance.
Adding to the glitter of the night were the appearances by Emmy® Award Winning Actress Carolyn Hennesy (General Hospital and Cougar Town), Emmy® Nominated Actress Patrika Darbo (Days of our Lives), and Actor Jeremy Miller (Growing Pains), who shared their love for Toluca Lake with the audience.The event recognized the invaluable contributions of local leaders and supporters: Toluca Lake Homeowner’s Association, Kari Negri, Greater Toluca Lake Neighborhood Council Outreach Chair Tim Micsko, Toluca Lake Garden Club President, Robyn Allyn, Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce, President Erick Garcia, and Toluca Lake Beautification Partners, Chair Ryan Altoon.
Gold Sponsors included Kevin Dees representing the Dees Family and the Office of City Council President Paul Krekorian. Silver Sponsors were Craig Strong with Compass Realty, Steve Hampar with Hampar Properties, and Mark Deitch with Toluca Lake Magazine, along with Bronze Sponsor, Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD).
After the Tree lighting ceremony, the night continued with performances by the John Burroughs Muse Choir, the Toluca Lake Elementary School Spirit Squad, and acapella performers The Jingle Singers, each adding their unique charm to the festive atmosphere. As the evening performances ended, the vibrant energy of the celebration continued to resonate,with attendees joyfully dancing into the night to the dynamic and soulful beats spun by DJ Lord Anthony Advincula creating an atmosphere of unbridled festivity and community defining the Toluca Lake village.
Special Thanks Jackie Lewis of Jackie Lewis Media, along with her exceptional team, played a pivotal role asco-producer and media representative in collaboration with TLBP Chair Ryan Altoon and TLC President Erick Garcia. Their collective efforts were crucial in seamlessly orchestrating this memorable event, ensuring its success, and lasting impact. Craig Merrick of Astro Audio and Video with his team for their exceptional sound and lighting stage setup, making the event’s ambiance truly magical; their contribution was indispensable. Natalie Bloxham and her coordination with the Road Kings of Burbank for providing over 20 specialty classic cars for the Centennial Parade, which included Council President Paul Krekorian, Ret. Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian, Kevin and Ava Dees, Steve and Sandy Hampar, Craig Strong, among others. Red Maple Restaurant co-Owner Brian Veskosky, who graciously hosted food and refreshments for the production team and VIP guests, which recently relocated to Riverside Drive and has been delighting patrons since 2017 with its specialty coffees, teas, and unique lemonades. Known for their innovative offering where customers can have personalized photos printed on their iced or hot lattes and cappuccinos, Red Maple not only lit up the street with a beautifully adorned tree and special lighting but also illuminated the event with community warmth.
This centennial celebration was not just an event; it reflected the enduring spirit of Toluca Lake. It brought together community members, businesses, and city officials in a display of unity and joy, highlighting the area’s growth, resilience, and community spirit over the past 100 years.TLBP Ryan Altoon’s poignant remark, ‘It takes a village to put this together, and it truly was a Christmas miracle,’ coupled with TLCC Erick Garcia’s sentiment, ‘This was a synergy of residents and businesses coming together for a common cause,” perfectly encapsulate the community spirit and collective effort that made the Toluca Lake Centennial Celebration are sounding success.”We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated and contributed to Toluca Lake Holiday Open House and 100th Anniversary Celebration. Here’s to another century of community, growth, and shared success in Toluca Lake!
ABOUT TOLUCA LAKE :As Toluca Lake marks its 100th year, it stands as a testament to the enduring allure of historic neighborhoods. From its humble beginnings in the 1920s to becoming a haven for Hollywood’s elite and the establishment of Warner Bros. Studios, Toluca Lake’s story is interwoven with the tapestry of Los Angeles’ cultural and entertainment history.Toluca Lake’s rich history and its connection to Hollywood’s elite. Legendary figures like Bob Hope and Frank Sinatra are part of the community’s star-studded legacy. Today, Toluca Lake continues to thrive as a vibrant community, backed by organizations dedicated to preserving its rich heritage and fostering a sense of unity. The centennial celebration was not just a reflection on the past but a beacon of the community’s resilience and enduring spirit.