If you’re feeling a bit like you’ve stepped through Lewis Carroll’s looking glass, where up is down and right is left, there’s not a soul who would blame you.
With the memories of Passover and Easter celebrations still fresh in our minds, Friday night football is taking place featuring the high school teams from Burbank and Burroughs.
What Burbanker would have ever imagined that a time would come when the local gridirons would be seeing action at the same time the city’s Parks and Recreation Department is staging its annual Spring Egg-Stravaganza?
Alas, it’s just another incongruity in a world gone topsy-turvy due to the pandemic.
“We weren’t able to do our Egg-Stravaganza last year, but this year we had the time to plan it out and really felt we could do it safely,” said Recreation Services Manager Erin Barrows, who oversaw this year’s egg-citement. “It’s something that has really become a Burbank tradition for families, so we were determined to make it happen.”
In addition to Barrows and Recreation Supervisor Kim Freed, other park staff who helped make last week’s hunt happen included Marcus Munguia, Beth McQuitty, Bria Wade, Lacey Cabrera, Caitlyn Batchelor and Camryn Thompson.
According to Barrows, more than 550 people signed up to be participants in the driving scavenger hunt that took families on a quest to find 16 eggs and bunnies hidden in 12 parks and city facilities throughout Burbank.
Prior to the event, a game card was emailed to participants which served as a map for their hunt. Once they completed their search, they were invited to come to Izay Park to receive a goodie bag, some which contained golden eggs that could be redeemed for special gifts.
Along with acknowledging her park staff, Barrows also gave kudos to members of the Burbank Youth Board who worked as volunteers for the event. Among the youth board members who “hopped” at the opportunity to help were Justin Cano, Dominic Millunzi, Yogini Vazirani, Zachary Ching, Paige Huleis, Rose Ilangesyan and Dinnavia Petrulis.
Burbank’s Youth Board is one of a number of advisory boards and committees, appointed by the city council, which work in an advisory capacity with park department staff. The youth board provides an opportunity for high school and middle school students to learn about and actively participate in local government. Members represent the interests of local youth in community affairs and encourage peers to actively participate in community affairs and matters of concern to the city.
Burbank Mayor Bob Frutos, who never misses the chance to give credit and thanks to all of the city’s board members who play an instrumental role in assisting staff in carrying out their work and the council in their decision making process, said that he has always been especially impressed with the youth board.
“They do an outstanding job as our future leaders who are receiving on-the-job training,” said Mayor Frutos. “With everything that has been going on during the pandemic, they have still shown their commitment to making a difference. They have shown real leadership, and I’m very proud of them.”
There was a palpable feeling among city staff, volunteers and participants at last week’s event that, hopefully, the worst of the pandemic is now behind us and a ramped-up return to normalcy may be on the horizon.
“We’re definitely moving forward and going in the direction of what, I guess, may be a new version of normal for our department,” said Barrows. “We have been working on this week’s fundraiser for Family Promise of the Verdugos, which will be a concert in the parking lot of the Starlight Bowl. We have been taking every safety protocol and precaution into consideration and, if it works out well, I really believe it will be the beginning of our slowly and safely opening up the Starlight Bowl for concerts again.”
As for that hope, Mayor Frutos agreed with Barrows and said he feels that “Spring is in the air.”
“The city’s annual Spring Egg-Stravaganza is a sign that it’s springtime, literally, and also, this year, by giving people the feeling that we are seeing an end to the pandemic that has impacted our lives over this past year,” said Frutos. “The trees are blossoming and I feel this sense of beauty and love in the air. We are getting back to normalcy. People are enjoying be out and about again. The restaurants are getting back into swing. We are slowly coming out of the pandemic, and just like the way the world comes alive again every spring, you can feel the city coming alive again.”
David Laurell may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or (818) 563-1007.