Members of the Burbank Civitan Club, which merged with the Foothill Civitan Club this past October, took to the wearin’ o’ the green as they welcomed members and guests to their annual St. Patrick’s Day Champagne Brunch in the Rose Garden Room at the Pickwick Gardens Banquet Center this past Sunday.
In what has become one of Burbank’s longest-standing service-club traditions, more than 100 Civitans, supporters, family members and friends gathered for the 49th time to honor the patron saint of Ireland, while also tipping their hats to the organization’s 64th year of service to the community.
St. Patrick’s Day has always had a special significance to the Burbank-Foothill Civitan Club because its charter was granted on March 17, 1955.
Since then, the group has provided both monetary and in-kind support for numerous local nonprofit organizations including the Burbank Park, Recreation and Community Services Department’s annual Baseball Jamboree, which stages an annual parade of decorated trucks and cars that carry hundreds of local players and Special Olympics participants through the streets of Burbank to George Izay Park.
The club also works to raise funds to benefit the international organization of Civitan Clubs, which supports the Research Center for Mental Retardation in Birmingham, Ala.
The highlight the local event was a performance by members of the O’Connor School of Dance, who performed traditional dances of Feis (pronounced “Fesh”), which are a part of competitions that honor Celtic culture and pride.
Established in Waterford on the Emerald Isle, the O’Connor School of Dance came to the United States in 1960, and has been operating in the San Fernando Valley, under the direction of Bella O’Connor Yerina, since 1978.
Among those who enjoyed a brunch of corn beef and cabbage, silent auction and entertainment were City Councilman Jess Talamantes, Burbank-Foothill Civitan president Randy Garcia, and the event’s committee members and volunteers, who included Barry Kessler, Sheri Epstein, Elaine Paonessa, Karen and Randy Karraker, Richard Bertain, Bobbie Garcia, and Dee Dee Ruhlow.
The mission of the Civitan Club is to build good citizens dedicated to serving individual and community needs, with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities.