Did you by any chance see that big old crystal-adorned ball that Lady Gaga, Ryan Seacrest and Dick Clark dropped in Times Square last Saturday night? Well, it wasn’t the only ball that was dropped that night. Three hours later, officers, members, friends and supporters of Burbank Elks Lodge 1497 gathered at their Hollywood Way headquarters to see 2012 ushered in with the dropping of the Burbank Ball.
Always a festive send-off to an old year and welcoming of a new one, this year’s annual Elks New Year’s gala was staged under the theme “New York, New York.” For the seventh consecutive year, Harvey Ryun served as the event’s chairman heading up his committee that included Marge Higgins, Julene Rury, Janet Fernandez, Woody Bixby and the lodge’s exalted ruler, Ron Tice.
“Putting this event together always puts a smile on my face,” said Ryun. “The pay off comes as I watch people enjoying themselves and having a great time as the New Year comes in.”
Over 180 festively dressed members and guests were welcomed by Debbie Marks and Ramona Higgins as they began their evening of celebrating. Following an early evening cocktail social and dinner prepared by Chef Jim Ewart and his staff that included Vera Alverez, Teri Byrne and Kathy Reese, couples took to the dance floor and swung to the musical stylings of a band under the direction of Ben Rushing. With the final moments of 2011 ticking into history, Ruyn began the countdown that officially welcomed 2012 as a mirrored ball — a bit smaller than the one that fell on the East Coast a few hours earlier — was lowered from the ceiling to the middle of the dance floor.
Among those who enjoyed the evening were Bob and Sandi Tomer, Malena Tappan, Joe Gutirres, Judy and Hubert Pierce, Beverly Jean Davies-Swaim and Bill Swaim, Judy and Bob La Verde, Neil and Josie Labbe, Bob Wheeler, Judy Scarone and Tom Patten.
Others who shook off the old and brought in the new by enjoying an early 2012 morning breakfast were Babs and Dave Crone, John and Linda Valle, Rich and Patty Holms, Philip and Rachel Garcia and Bill Boyd.
Assisting in staging the event was the Elks’ 2011-12 elected officers Howard Rothenbach, Robert Ramsey, Ken Pajan, John Holt, Ruben Alamraz, Greg Peale, Randolph Garcia and Fred DeLange.
While Ryun plans on continuing his role as the Elks’ New Year’s gala chairman in 2012, he says that having embraced a New York theme for this year’s event has him thinking he may not be in attendance next year. “I have never been to New York,” he said. “So while I will still do all the preparations for next year, I’m thinking about going to New York and actually being in Times Square next New Year’s Eve.” He looked out over the crowd of people enjoying themselves and a smile came to his face. “I’ll miss this, but, being in Times Square as the New Year comes in — that would be a dream come true.”