Rain showers couldn’t dampen Toluca Lake’s festive spirit as residents, merchants and community groups celebrated the beloved tradition of the annual Holiday Open House on December 6. Restaurants, shops and offices opened their doors to display festive decorations or set up tables along Riverside Drive, offering greetings and giveaways to passersby. In addition to feasting on seasonal refreshments like hot cider and cookies, attendees enjoyed performances by local musicians, visits with Santa and a tree-lighting ceremony.
“This is the best time of the year,” said emcee and honorary mayor Fritz Coleman. (And yes, the NBC4 weathercaster endured a little good-natured teasing about the unexpectedly drizzly conditions.) “I love this little community all the time, but this event is just like a piece of the soul of America.”
In support for those who contribute so much to the community, the Toluca Lake Chamber of Commerce gave donations to Toluca Lake Elementary School, the Widows, Orphans & Disabled Firemen’s Fund and LAFD Fire Station #86, and the Marine Toys for Tots Program. Actor and longtime resident Joe Mantegna was on hand to present the Chamber’s check to members of the Marine Corps, noting, “The reason we’re able to live in a beautiful community like this is through the sacrifices the men and women of the military have made for us.”
Other local dignitaries marking the significance of the event included Chamber of Commerce President Jon Molin, Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian and City Councilmember David Ryu — who, as a newlywed of two months, was especially excited to be introducing his wife and in-laws to their very first Holiday Open House.
“The beauty of this community is that it is a little town that harkens back to an earlier, less stressful time in our country,” Coleman said as he prepared to count down to the tree lighting. “This is a time when we need to settle down and love one another and be peaceful and be supportive of our community, and this town is the greatest representation of what the rest of the world should be.”