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On the Town: Leadership Burbank hosts scary, profitable fundraiser

As is the case in just about every U.S. city from the rocky coastline of Bar Harbor to the sandy shores of Honolulu, local nonprofit organizations have established annual fundraising events that have become a part of their community’s culture.

That is certainly true in Burbank. Organizations that have become members-in-good-standing in the “parties-of-the-year” club include the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, Temporary Aid Center, Family Service Agency, Kids’ Community Dental Clinic and Burbank Arts for All.

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While breaking into that celebratory clique isn’t easy for an organization to do, Leadership Burbank has clearly staked its claim within the pinnacle-of-parties pack with its annual Halloween Bash.

This past week, close to 300 representatives of Burbank’s government, businesses, schools and studios took on the personas of an eclectic mix of goblins, ghouls as well as historical and pop-culture icons as they gathered in the courtyard of Nickelodeon Studios to raise funds for the community-based organization.

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This over-the-top masquerade party that gives one the feeling of being in the bar scene from the original “Star Wars” film, was put on by Leadership Burbank chairwoman Cristina Spratt, vice chair Vicki Fenton, and board members Tom Kissinger, Alethia Calagias, Vic Georgino, Susan Sebastian, H. Eric Schockman, Tom Flavin, John Carrier, Ron Davis, Nerissa Sugars, Albert Hernandez, Mike Thomas, Trena Pitchford, Michael Cusumano, David Escobar, Jack O’Neill, Terry Walker, Jamie Keyser Thomas, Simon Lutterbie, Ken Nielsen, Mary Cutone, Don St. Clair and Karen Volpei-Gussow.

Among those who enjoyed the evening, which included music, dancing, sketches by animators from local studios and Tarot-card readings were Gema Sanchez, board chairwoman of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, who was joined by her husband, Rey.

They were creatively costumed as Morticia and Gomez Addams.

Also attending was school board member Char Tabet as Rosie the Riveter, the cultural icon of World War II, who represented the women who worked in factories and shipyards.

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Others who walked the evening’s welcoming “orange carpet” included a third-eyed state Sen. Anthony Portantino, Jack and Christina Nitzsche, who took a step back in time to the 17th century, and Chris and Suzanne Weerts in the wizardry wardrobe of Professor Albus Dumbledore and Harry Potter.

The mission of Leadership Burbank is to identify, educate and motivate current and emerging leaders in Burbank to develop ideas and solutions that make Burbank a strong, sustainable and vibrant community.

Through a hands-on curriculum, leaders and emerging leaders have the opportunity to enhance their personal and professional skills, gain a deeper understanding of community dynamics and build a network of colleagues and associates within Burbank’s civic, government, business, faith-based and nonprofit groups.

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

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