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Life and Arts

Decking the lawns

Creating a winter wonderland in their front yard is a family project for the Fagnani family.

Eight-year-old Michael Fagnani helps his dad, Troy, decide where all the elements will go.

“My son gets into it quite a bit,” said Troy Fagnani. “It’s quite a family thing.”

Michael set up the gingerbread men, candy canes and gumdrop trees.


“All the nice white cottony snow I put out by myself,” Michael said. “And I put out the baby Jesus.”

He did such a great job, the Burbank Civic Pride Committee dubbed it the first-place winner in the Youth category of the city’s Holiday Outdoor Decorating Contest.

“I felt very excited,” Michael said about winning, but quickly added they won once before in 2008.

The display’s centerpiece this year is a 25-foot Christmas tree that father and son worked on. It is formed by 70 strands of LED lights.


Michael was so proud of it, one night he came out and did his homework underneath it, his mom Jennifer Fagnani said.

The family is trying to go green, as a lot of the scenes feature eco-friendly lighting and recycled decorations, Troy Fagnani said.

A train set up under the Christmas tree was a hand-me-down from his mother and the two reindeer on the roof were given to the family by the next-door neighbor.

Troy Fagnani made the Rudolph this year and added it to the team, he said.

One of the scenes Michael worked on himself was the frozen lake with penguins dancing around it. Deer antlers are poking out from the top of the ice. Dad attributed his son’s idea to his watching the nature channels on TV.

The outdoor display also features a Santa on the porch singing “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and another Santa singing blues-style carols backed by two penguins.

Chad Cox, who lives five blocks over, has been bringing his kids just about every other night, he said.

“I admire your spirit,” he told Troy Fagnani.


The family took an extra effort to make a spectacular display, said Rob Vincent, chairman of the Civic Pride Committee.

“It was just brilliant,” Vincent said. “The creativity and heartfelt emotions came from the soul.”

There were 28 entries overall in the three categories, which was disappointing, Vincent added.

“When I first came on the committee, there were 80-plus entries,” he said. “We want to have people more involved in the competition, and spread the joy for the holidays.”

The Holiday Inn went beyond the call of duty, decorating the driveway and setting up lots of kids and Santa’s helpers, organizers said.

The Residential First Place winner, Aurora Aclan, had some 5,000 lights, Vincent added.

“It was beautifully done,” he said. “When you are on your way to the Castaway it’s all lit up.”




Youth First Place — Katherine and Michael Fagnani, 520 N. Florence St.

Youth Second Place — Chandler Robbins and Edward Gibbons, 632 E. Grinnell Drive

Commercial First Place — Holiday Inn Media Center, 150 E. Angeleno Ave.

Commercial Second Place — Priscilla’s Gourmet Coffee, Tea & Gifts, 4150 Riverside Drive

Residential First Place — Aurora Aclan and family, 1075 E. Harvard Road

Residential Second Place — Marvin Walker, 246 S. Sparks St.

Residential Third Place — Daryl Klein, 1057 E. Tujunga Ave.