Trying to decide what to write this week, I thought about the kick-off for the Burbank centennial on New Year’s Eve and asking people for their resolutions for the coming year. But something happened that changed everything — like when you go into a restaurant for a cheeseburger and instead order the prime rib.
Burbank is made up of three factions. The first is made up of life-long residents — they understand what Burbank is and what it means to live here. The second are transplanted from other areas who have moved to Burbank and have come to understand what it means to live here. The third group is the outsiders who just can’t figure out not only what Burbank is all about, but why people love this city and the small-town atmosphere associated with it.
New Year’s Eve was a night that brought together everything good about Burbank to the forefront.
It was a night full of community, a night full of pride.
Burbank’s Centennial Committee put a lot of work and planning into making the night a success. To start, putting the stage where they did gave a natural amphitheater-type sound (my only complaint of the evening was the music was a little too loud, making it hard for people to talk to each other) with an outstanding band Stone Soul.
The city did a great job with its past and present theme for the Centennial Calendar. Cartoon Network also stepped up and provided free food and drinks.
The local officials and the same group who usually attend were there, but so were many families, teenagers who came with their parents, longtime Burbank residents.
Then, at about 7:45, it happened.
An announcement was made that the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. Volunteers were going to roll out this year’s float called “Centennial Celebration.” As the float rolled out of the only home it had ever known, the entire gathering left the stage area and made their way over to the float.
With people standing all around it five and six deep, you could see numerous flashes going off and phones being held up to capture the moment.
And in that moment the magic happened. Standing off to the side, you could witness the pride coming from the hundreds of people who had crowded around the float. There were also the unsung volunteers who have worked tirelessly for months to bring the float together. For the first time, they were also getting the public’s thanks for a job well done.
This was a moment that could have been in 2010 or 1950. There were no politics, no mean spirits, only a community that had come together with pride and appreciation.
At 9 p.m., a small fireworks show was lit from the float and then started its police escort to Pasadena. You can tell by the motor officers who escorted the float that they also felt an excitement and pride in their duties. This was a piece of their city that they were going to deliver in a first-class operation.
Burbank’s float went on to win the much deserved Founder’s Trophy at the parade, but it was only a secondary win when you look at what it meant to the community as a whole. Yes, the City Council has to justify the cost donated for the float, but I for one would gladly give up having my street cleaned for a week or two if it meant keeping the float alive during these financially strapped times.
You can now see it on the corner of Olive and Glenoaks one last time before it takes its final bow.
Burbank Centennial Committee is off to a great start, and it will be great to see what they have planned next.
And for those of you who graciously offered up your resolutions for me, I think you totally understand that on this night the prime rib was far better than the cheeseburger.
CRAIG SHERWOOD is the executive editor of BurbankNBeyond.com and a baseball coach at Burbank High School. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.