While every season in Toluca Lake has its own special charm, I’d tell anyone who wants to experience the true joy of the neighborhood that they need to be here for the bustling last quarter of the year. Thrill to our spectacular and spine-tingling Halloween displays, shake a tail feather at the Turkey Trot, stroll down Riverside and visit with Santa during the Holiday Open House. Delight in sipping a cup of cocoa and experience a sled ride with the Kling Street Kids, then marvel at the Magical Holiday Parade as it fills our streets with enchanting lights and melodies on Christmas Eve.
These cherished traditions hold even greater meaning as our community marks its 100th birthday, so expect everyone to pull out all the stops to make this year’s celebrations especially memorable. We’re particularly excited that, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of residents spearheaded by Craig Strong, the Holiday Parade is coming back bigger and better than ever. This event gets mentioned nearly every time we ask a local to list their favorite things about Toluca Lake, and we know its return will add extra sparkle to this festive season for many of you.
Speaking of traditions, as is customary, we’re sending you our season’s greetings through this winter issue. In addition to reporting on recent and upcoming community celebrations, we bring you our seventh annual gift guide to help you find the perfect presents for all the special people in your life, resources for holiday entertaining and plenty of ideas for your own wish list. So, let’s all agree to make it a tradition to show your support for the local businesses that bring so much vitality to our neighborhood. And because this time of year is all about gratitude, giving and goodwill, we’re spotlighting the inspirational stories of three nearby nonprofits that mobilize community support for our most vulnerable neighbors year-round.
Since this is our last issue of this centennial year, we’re also continuing our special focus on local history. You’re never far from the past in Toluca Lake, but this time we were surprised to find it right next door! Our feature article on America’s favorite singing cowboy, Gene Autry, details how he lived and worked in this area for more than 60 years — including serving as Toluca Lake’s honorary mayor and operating his business out of an office on Riverside Drive, directly across Clybourn from where our own office now stands.
As we reflect on our many blessings this season, I am thankful for the ongoing support of our advertisers and readers, and for each and every one of the community members who make this such a remarkable place to be. From all of us at Toluca Lake Magazine, have a wonderful holiday season and a happy, healthy and homey new year.