Do-it-yourself holiday decorating is a point of pride for Brian
That’s why most of the ornaments outside of Smith’s home at 841 N.
Buena Vista St. -- from a hand-painted cutout of Santa Claus to a
homemade silver tinsel tree -- are ones that he crafted by hand.
“I like to see houses where the stuff is homemade, not where they
just put their checkbooks in their front lawn,” he said.
Smith’s house was one of four residential award winners in the
Burbank Civic Pride Committee’s 2003 Holiday Decoration Contest.
The highlight of Smith’s presentation -- selected from 39 entries
-- is the vintage 1958 fire engine parked on his driveway and adorned
with lights, presents, a Santa figure and the aforementioned silver
tree. An oversized red ball tree ornament parked in the yard is also
a crowd-pleaser, he said.
About a mile up the street, at 1822 N. Buena Vista St., Mike
Zankoski has created a winter wonderland in his frontyard featuring
dozens of seasonal figurines, more than 2,000 holiday lights and a
glowing Santa perched on the roof with his reindeer.
Zankoski said he’s decorated his home for the past eight years
because he enjoys filling neighbors and passersby with holiday
“I get a lot of responses from people yelling while waiting in
traffic,” he said. “It gives them something to look at and take their
mind off their day.”
Ellie Myer, chairwoman of the city committee that picked the
winners, said the contest is a way for the city to congratulate them
for their hard work.
“We see so many houses where the owners don’t enter, and we want
them to, because they make the city look absolutely gorgeous,” said
Myer, who encourages everyone who decorates their home next year to
enter the annual contest.
The City Council on Tuesday honored the winners, which included
Samuel’s Florist at 921 W. Olive Ave., the recipient of the
commercial award. Two additional awards were handed out in the
16-and-younger category. Ryan and Sarah Kelly won for their
decorations at 1231 N. Fairview St., and Ilona and Alexander Szabo
won for their home at 1636 N. Avon St.
Smith, a Burbank native, also encourages those who haven’t done so
in the past to participate. He says the holiday spirit is a fading
part of the city’s tradition.
“When I was a kid, we used to drive around and look at the
Christmas lights,” he said. “People don’t take the time to do that