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Holiday fun, City Hall-style

Jackson Bell

Nick Bennett was so excited to be standing in the cold outside of

City Hall that he could hardly keep still.

The reason? A special appearance by a certain white-bearded man


who is known to have a belly like a bowl full of jelly.

“I’m here to see Santa because I want to see him arrive on the

fire engine,” Nick said.

The eager 7-year-old Burbank resident was among dozens of local


families gathered on the front steps of the civic center to celebrate

the holiday season with Santa, Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and city

officials during the annual Mayor’s Tree-Lighting Ceremony on Tuesday


The 25-foot tree was adorned with ball ornaments and ribbons while

musicians dressed as toy soldiers played holiday songs during the

event. The Burbank High School Choir performed medleys, singing “Here

Comes Santa Claus” when firefighters dropped him off about 6 p.m. The


famous Disney couple followed behind in a convertible.

“We know this time of the year is pretty hectic for you, Santa, so

we wanted to give you a snack,” said Burbank Mayor Stacey Murphy,

presenting the purveyor of presents with a cookie large enough for

him and his wife to share.

Santa posed for pictures with local youth while the crowd was

treated to apple juice and cookies from Disney volunteers.

“This is a great way to bring the community together, especially


after the slaying of [Burbank Police Officer Matthew Pavelka] that

happened a few weeks ago,” said Larry Applebaum, a previous Burbank

Unified School District school board candidate.

Applebaum’s wife, Lucia, said their 16-month-old daughter, Lauren,

was old enough this year to enjoy the spectacle.

“She just loves the music and Mickey and Minnie,” she said.

About 7 p.m., the gathering moved to the second floor of the Media

City Center, where the Burbank High School Choir led a community

singalong of holiday carols.