25th Annual Festival of Lights a sparkling end to a rainy day


The afternoon rain on Friday didn’t chill the spirits at La Cañada Memorial Park, when kids aged 1 to 92 kicked off the holiday season at the Festival in Lights and enjoyed all the charms that small town life has to offer.

Hosted by the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and co-sponsored by the City of La Cañada Flintridge, the winter fair has delivered on its annual promise of snowball battles, cups of cocoa, photos with Santa Claus and more. ‘a night full of celebrations.

“I think it’s a good turnout,” said La Cañada Mayor Len Pieroni, among the hundreds of people present despite the residual humidity. “It’s the start of the vacation – it’s part of what makes La Cañada so special. “

Len Pieroni, the mayor of La Cañada Flintridge, dressed in a bright festive outfit for the 25th annual La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce festival at Lights Friday at Memorial Park.

(James Carbone)

Choristers from Paradise Canyon Elementary and La Cañada Elementary Lion’s Pride Choir sang Christmas carols, while 14 finalists vying for five spots on the 2020 Miss La Cañada Flintridge Royal Court gathered near Councilor Kathryn Markgraff .

Then came the time for the big announcement.

“When you try something new – and you put yourself in a situation that can make you a little nervous and uncomfortable, but know that it will help you grow – you should be celebrated,” Markgraff told the crowd. “Here is a group of young women who tried something new and who spoke well and were courageous.”

Finalists include Audrey Melillo, Ally Rayer, Ellaney Matarese and Reese Ramseyer, juniors from La Cañada High School, as well as Grace Fontes from Mayfield High School. Miss CFL will be crowned in a ceremony at the 108th Chamber Installation, Awards and Coronation Gala on January 30.

Festival of Lights

The Royal Court of Miss La Cañada Flintridge 2020, left to right, Audrey Melillo, of LCHS; Grace Fontes of Mayfield High School; Ally Rayer, from LCHS, Ellaney Matarese; of LCHS; and Reese Ramseyer, of LCHS, pose for a photo Friday during the 25th annual La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce Festival of Lights.

(James Carbone)

Mom Ronda Ramseyer was delighted to hear her daughter’s name called. She explained how she and her husband John Allen had come to the festival with Reese and her younger sister Lauren for years.

“When they were little, we came for the snow. Then, in elementary school, they sang in the choir. Every year as she experienced, she saw the selection of the Royal Court, something that all little girls admire, ”she said. “I was just glad she wanted to do this.”

As night fell, the children claimed the main attraction. The arrival of Santa Claus and Mrs Noel via a sheriff and firefighter escort did not disappoint, as Santa flipped a switch to turn on the lights at Memorial Park and all along Foothill Boulevard.

Near the head of the Santa Claus line, Alice Kurs from La Cañada waited alongside her son Milo, 7, and daughter Isabella, 10, holding Romy, 3, in her arms. Festival in Lights has been a tradition since Romy was a baby.

“It’s so special to be part of a small town where you go to a local park and meet Santa Claus – you feel like part of a community,” she said, joking as she sends photos of the snow pit to loved ones on the east coast.

Festival of Lights

Children play in the snow during the 25th Annual La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce Festival of Lights at Memorial Park.

(James Carbone)

As they waited, the children considered what they would ask for when the time came. Isabella opted for art supplies while her friend Claire Taylor from Glendale chose a new iPhone protector.

Milo wanted a magnetic building set and confirmed that Romy wanted an Elsa doll from the movie “Frozen”. Did they know that both Disney films were written and directed by residents of La Cañada?

“If it’s not magic,” said Alice Kurs with a smile, “I don’t know what it is.”

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