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.