Halloween in concert

Jo Godwin didn’t mind the ruckus two blocks down from her home on Kenneth Road.

“We’ve never had any trouble,” she said of the street-closing 18th annual Fall Festival one block west. “The only question is will kids have the energy to go out later.”

About 2,000 people moon-bounced, shopped, rode ponies, rode a train, or just strolled through the festival organized by the Kenneth Road Merchant’s Assn. Volunteers said it was the largest turnout they’d ever seen.

“This is the Merchant’s Assn. way of giving back to the community for the support they give us throughout the year,” said Renee Karapedian, owner of Pet Rush and president of the association.

Face painters and balloon-animal makers were busy all day outside Zuza’s Euro Toys, while cave girls, pirates and bumble bees ran wild.

Alexis Valentine, a first-grader at Balboa Elementary School, put the whole day into context.

“Trick-or-treating,” she said of her favorite part about Halloween.

Norik Shahbandarian, owner and executive chef of the Village French Bakery, said he expected business to be up 5% by the end of the day.

“So far so good,” he said. “Maybe because I’m the only one who does French baking.”

The festival featured a concert by the Tracs, whose youngest member is 11. The five bandmates all live within a few blocks of one another near Kenneth Village and have performed at various festivals up and down California.

“Our first gig was here,” said 13-year-old Finn Roberts, the lead singer. “It’s fun to come back and show how we’ve developed.”

Several festival-goers couldn’t enjoy the fruits of Chris and Tom Liquor Store, but owner Rom Askar said many people had come in for a cold drink. He said that business was down 20% or 25% from last year, but that Crystal head vodka, which comes in a skull, had been a big seller lately.

“Hopefully, when the parents drop off their kids, they’ll come back for some wine or cold beer,” he said as his sons Justin and Evan ran around the store distributing candy to customers young and old. “If the parents are lucky, maybe the kids won’t want to trick-or-treat with the World Series on and the NBA back.”

Across the street, Keppel Elementary School fifth-graders snacked on candy, but said Halloween is not among their favorite days of the year.

“You don’t get the day off,” said Stefan Stankovich, who was going to trick-or-treat in a Star Wars costume.

His friend Triston O’Donnell, dressed as Harry Potter, explained his favorite holidays.

“Christmas is No. 1,” he said. “Then New Year’s and my birthday because you can stay up all night.”

Behind them, a Census 2010 table distributed information and took questions. Staff has been trying to reach people through churches, schools and community events and explain how it affects power, funding and representation.

Tim Wong took video of his Princess Leia daughter Hailey as she rode a train from one end of Kenneth Road to the other. The family was in Las Vegas for Halloween last year.

“It was more adult-oriented over there,” he said. “This is a lot better for kids. I’ve lived in Glendale my whole life and didn’t know about this event.”


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