Damon’s Steak House owners invited the public to crash their annual employee Christmas party Dec. 22, and a couple hundred party-goers took advantage of the offer.

The $20 per person entry fee covered appetizers and a deejay. Damon’s laid out the red carpet for workers from economically affected companies on the chance that their companies’ parties may have been canceled.

Glendale Chamber of Commerce President Harry Hull was front and center greeting guests as was Elissa Glickman, Glendale Arts associate director.

Revelers from Glendale included gal pals on a girls’ night out Anna Hollingsworth, Jennifer Wolf, Beth La Pierre and Antonia Romeo.

Favorite servers were surprised with extra tips in their Christmas stockings.

Shoppers packed Glendale establishments to take advantage of the many after holiday discounts and clearances. The Americana at Brand was the scene of socializing as shoppers were spotted meeting and greeting.

Lucky Brand Kids was a small gold mine with a 25% discount added to their already 50% off merchandise. Baby strollers jockeyed for position as moms went after their favorite children’s clothing. Popular were tiny jean jackets embroidered with flowers and peace medallions.

Glendale residents Ariel Abuel, Jonas Abuel, 23 months old, and Heather Abuel were among the first customers Sunday. Little Jonas stayed patient as Mom and Dad tried shirts on him.

Silver Lake resident Roberta Cysne dropped by several days earlier to outfit her baby yet to come.

Some merchants offered coffee and cookies to sweeten the deal.

If shopping for sales didn’t pull your chain maybe horses did. Burbank’s Los Angeles Equestrian Center played host to Equestfest, presented by Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. Featured under the grandstand were trick riding, wild west performances, drill teams, roping and medieval jousting Sunday.

For $10 per ticket (children 5 and younger free), the public was able to get up close and personal with the horses and their riders that will be seen in the rose parade. The 2009 Tournament of Roses Royal Court of lovelies was also paraded past in fire engines and Well Fargo coaches.

Rose Queen Courtney Lee, 17, rode shotgun on an old fire engine while her court rode in two open coaches. Princesses were Mary Gaule, 17; Jasmine Jenkins, 17; Bridget McDonald, 18; Molly Novell, 18; Lauren Valenzuela, 17; and Quinn Young, 17.

Also popular were Spirit of the West Riders including Marshal Phil Spangenberger from Palmdale and Lori Brown from Fallbrook. Representing the Southern California Firefighters’ Assn. was George Liblin, driving a 1902 “American” horse-drawn steam fire engine. Perched on top a Wells Fargo coach was Steve Shaw from the San Bernardino History and Railroad Museum.

The Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society from San Diego included Dyan Paquette, Leanna Chessmore, Deana Sommerville, Linda Mae Chastain and Barbara Franzese. The USC mascot, Traveler, also made an appearance along with his rider, Hector Aguilar, decked out in a Ben Hur costume. Traveler was put through his paces under the grandstand to the musical number “Conquest.”

Hundreds of local horse-lovers packed the grandstand and booths offering everything from Crystal Glass nail files to fresh squeezed fruit juices.

Next year’s potential Equestfest vendors are invited to contact the Equestrian Committee chair of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

Happy New Year to all!

 RUTH SOWBY may be reached at ruthsowby@msn.com.

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