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Life and Arts

On the Town: Magnolia Park monthly event draws crowds, generates business

It’s early evening on the last Friday of May, and the Magnolia Park Merchants Assn.’s Ladies and Gents Night Out is underway.

The smells of spices, the grilling of beef and the frying of chicken intermingle with one another as they waft down Magnolia Boulevard. The sounds are a symphony of conversation, laughter and music.

The sights include smiling people with their children, their dogs or their significant other, walking either hand in hand of holding whatever culinary treats they’ve selected from a vast array of selections.

“This is a great community event,” said Robin Turrentine, who was joined by friends Shareka Day and Delores Morton after making their taco selections at the Magnolia Park event last Friday.

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“I love that instead of having to follow them on your phone and figuring out where they are, you have all the food trucks in one place. And I love all the interesting people you run into,” Turrentine added.

The hugely popular Ladies and Gents Night Out evenings, put on by the merchants association to promote small-business shopping in the area, are a monthly food truck-and-shopping event held on the last Friday of every month from January to October.

Each month, close to 40 food trucks line West Magnolia Boulevard from Hollywood Way to Catalina Street, while most of the shops stay open late, offering special sales and samples of their products, face painting for kids and entertainment for everyone.

Last Friday’s night out, during which even Burbank Vice Mayor Sharon Springer was spotted waiting in line at a food truck, offered participants a special treat as singer, songwriter and recording artist Sarah Lightman performed.

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Lightman, who is part of the street performing program at Universal City Walk, will be releasing a new album this summer followed by a U.S. tour to promote antibullying and suicide awareness.

Her tour will support Stand 4 Kind, an organization that provides impactful entertainment and educational programs that encourage a positive and safe school atmosphere by rewarding acts of kindness, promoting helplines and services, and helping schools apply for grants to cover their safety initiatives.

“I grew up in a dysfunctional environment. We all do,” Lightman said. “After I started to work through my own anxiety and problems that had mutated from my experiences, I had this deep feeling that I needed to share my journey. My mission is to uplift people, through the medium of music. When playing live, my hope is that the audience will leave in a different and better headspace.”

​Lightman, whose voice has been compared to Amy Winehouse and Colbie Caillat, clearly accomplished that goal during her Friday evening appearance in front of Bell Cottage.

“In the midst of all this great food and activity, there’s really a mellow vibe going on,” said Julia Henning, who was accompanied by her friend Matt Vorce.

“Along with the food and music, you feel safe and happy. It’s just a great evening,” Henning added.

​The next Ladies and Gents Night Out, which runs from 6 to 9 p.m., is scheduled for June 2. For more information about the event and all of the activities taking place in the Magnolia Park shopping district, head to visitmagnoliapark.com.

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

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