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La Cañada officials recreate world of Wonka in city-sponsored mixer

La Cañada residents, business members and city officials saw Olberz Park transformed into a “scrumdiddlyumptious” wonderland Thursday during a Willy Wonka-themed chamber mixer and merchants’ expo sponsored by the city — A World of Pure Imagination.

Fair weather, costumes, props modeled after the 1971 film “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and sweets aplenty drew a large crowd to the La Cañada Town Center, where lucky participants walked away with centerpiece top hats festooned with Oompa Loompa figurines and chocolate bars with real golden tickets inside.

“Each [city-sponsored mixer] is better than the next one,” said La Cañada Flintridge Mayor Len Pieroni, who opted for street clothes after not finding an Oompa Loompa costume in his size. “We’re a big supporter of the Chamber of Commerce, and we have this beautiful park out here that makes a nice spot to hold a mixer.”

Children and the young at heart played in a chocolate fountain and posed for photos with a root beer distillery and the goose that laid the golden egg. Guests dined on tomato basil soup, roast beef sandwiches and blueberry pie — an homage to the Three Course Dinner Chewing Gum that was character Violet Beauregarde’s downfall.

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In his remarks, Adam Ralphs, chairman elect for the chamber’s board of directors, thanked city officials for what turned out to be a sweet success.

“Thank you for giving us a world of pure imagination,” he said.


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