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Volunteers make Crescenta Valley fireworks a spectacle to behold

Service and volunteering delivered a successful 13th annual Crescenta Valley Fireworks Assn. spectacular Thursday at Crescenta Valley High School amid fireworks bursting in the air, food trucks, games, music, bounce houses and waves of spectators draped in red, white and blue.

State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) emceed the Fourth of July event, which included Assemblywoman Laura Friedman (D-Glendale).

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Another public official, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), took part in a guest musical performance as he banged a tambourine and sang with the band Mike Perry and the Title Waves.

Less noticeably, Jean Maluccio, secretary of the Crescenta Valley Fireworks Assn., was also celebrating the completion of a yearlong process.

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Her “small 10-person” nonprofit group successfully raised approximately $45,000 for the event, which included renting tables and chairs and paying for fireworks.

“We depend heavily on donations and help from community businesses and charities,” Maluccio said.

“We also have so much help from so many groups like L.A. County Fire, the American Legion, the Crescenta Valley Woman’s Club and so many others. This is our community’s fireworks show,” she added.

Friends Maggie Malone and Carol Huntwork represented two of eight members from the Crescenta Valley Woman’s Club working the fireworks show.

While Huntwork oversaw a game booth last year, she served this year as the event’s first line of defense — bag checks.

“I’m guess we’re like the police,” Huntwork quipped.

After which, Malone said, “No, more like Homeland Security.”

Huntwork laughed and added, “Well, I worked customer service for years and that was awful. This should be a piece of cake.”

Huntwork proceeded to inform two male festival-goers in their 30s they could not enter with glass bottles.

The pair left, disposed of their items, returned and received a nod of approval from Huntwork.

“Just doing my job,” she said.

Inside, Glendale High School sophomores Emily Khachaturova, Liana Movsesyan and Lina Hovspeyan volunteered to run a game booth — called the “Punk Rack” – in which a contestant must knock down two pins with three baseballs to win a prize.

“We came down here for [school] service hours, even though it’s not mandatory,” Khachaturova said.

“There weren’t too many places offering hours at this time, but CV did,” Movsesyan said.

Hovspeyan added, “Well, it’s not just about hours, it’s about helping the community and having fun. Plus, we get to watch fireworks.”

The chance to donate hours and see a show afterward was too tempting to pass up for Nathan Davila, a student at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles .

The incoming senior was bused to Crescenta Valley, along with several friends, all members of the regional Division 3 South Key Club chapter, looking to volunteer.

“We heard about the event, we heard about the opportunity, so we came out here to help out and see some fireworks,” Davila said.

The fundraising and volunteering needed for such an event was appreciated by at least one group of event attendees.

The Sosa family — Eddie, Diana and Olivia — from Glendale, said they enjoyed several parts of the event.

“He came for the food,” Olivia Sosa said before the fireworks display, while pointing to her husband, Eddie. “I’m looking forward to the fireworks.”

Eddie interjected, “I just came for some fun.”

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