The day began at 7:30am with Block Party Chair, Jennifer Manoogian, Fred Karlsen SSMHOA President and his wife Marilee (nominated”First Lady of the Silver Strand” by popular vote), arriving on Roma Court awaiting the arrival of the tents, stage set-up, tables, umbrellas and chairs. Board members Michael Greenberg, John Nagy and John Conner had already begun cordoning off Roma Court.
There is always that awful moment, the time when the party is supposed to begin and everything is in place, when you get that sinking feeling that, despite your best efforts, no one is going to come. Well, come they did come, and in droves, on foot, in strollers and on bicycles. There were parents and grandparents, young people with their babies, teenagers, nonagerians including a beautiful lady with a white lace parasol in a wheelchair, couples holding hands and single folks reflecting the diversity of our neighborhood.
Julian Miranda, vocalist and DJ of All the Rave Entertainment, got the music going by noon and by 12:30 people were starting to stand in line for the excellent food being served up by the Border Grill and the All American Softy truck. Because many more people showed up than expected, there were complaints about the length of the lines, so next year there will be an additional food truck. On the other hand, since the party is all about meeting your neighbors, while waiting for my tacos and guacamole (excellent), I met two homeowners who live in my Mall for the first time since we moved in three years ago.
Fred Karlsen officially opened the party by delivering welcoming remarks to guests and thanking all those Silver Strand homeowners who contributed to the party. Mark Antonio Grant, Special Assistant to Councilman Bill Rosendahl, made an appearance and surprised Fred by presenting him with a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Los Angeles for his community efforts. Fred stated that the award really belongs to Silver Strand homeowner volunteers and members of the SSMHOA Board of Directors. Mark also provided an update on Bill’s treatment for cancer saying that he is expected to recover as it was caught early. He mentioned that many residents of the Silver Strand have sent Bill words of encouragement which he much appreciates. He also said that Bill continues to work for our community pointing out the new fence on the Ballona Lagoon and getting the recent slurry-coating of our streets finished in time for the party.
Berman and Kandel, of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, Marina del Rey, followed Fred’s welcome by expressing their appreciation for the opportunity to sponsor the 2012 Block Party. Last year’s event was a “homeowner-made” event involving heroic efforts by Silver Strand residents. Berman and Kandel’s sponsorship for this year’s event included everything from manning the registration table with name tags, picking up the tab for the set-up of tables, tents, chairs, tables,umbrellas, the stage and sound equipment, food truck guaranties, printing of the announcements, and the live entertainment, which not only relieved homeowners of the burden but also drew many more residents to the party. They also arranged for event planner, MaryAnne Bradley, to handle the details of the decor and entertainment, which was wisely geared towards kids who took full advantage of everything offered. She “Let the Magic Begin” by providing guests with live Monarch butterflies to release over Northstar Mall.
There was a Children’s Table underneath the Butterfly Tree fully supplied with crayons and games.
Super Inflated Balloon artist, and what an artist he is, was another favorite. He created headgear worthy of Marie Antoinette for the children.
Fantastic Fig, the strolling magician and his imperturbable cat delighted the guests with his sleight of hand magic. In real life, Mr. Fig is a lawyer.
Everyone admired the artistry of face painter Cynnamon. By the end of the day, very few young faces were unadorned.
The Cean One Photo Booth was also popular. There was a table full of hats, furs and feathers for guests to use to prepare for their “15 Minutes of Fame.”
A couple of guests all dressed up and ready for their close-up.
There was a stage performance by the Nations Best Yo Yo Players. Alex Hattori and Patrick Borgerding, two young champions, demonstrated feats of double-handed yo yo. Afterwards they gave free lessons to the children.
Rich Flynn, “Painter of the Moment,” captures the party scene in all its glory.
No Silver Strand Block Party would be complete without the arrival of the City of Los Angeles Fire Department, Venice Station 63, and their wonderful crew (including a firewoman this year). They patiently let the kids clamber over all their pristine trucks and put finger marks on everything.
What kid doesn’t want to be a fireman/woman one day?
Celebrity Psychic Suzanne Wyman set herself up on Northstar. Among her many clients was a Silver Strand homeowner who, given that I’m familiar with his hard-headed skills in reasoning, was about the last person I expected to find consulting a psychic. But there he was, deeply engrossed with Suzanne, with palms outstretched. For the sake of privacy, no name and no photo are provided here.
Last Performance of the Day. When the performers had left the stage, the kids took over and, much to the delight of adults, gave an impromptu dancing performance.
Clarissa Cervantes, Block Captain and Silver Strand News Photographer, poses with Nora Nicosia, SSMHOA Board member, Chair of the Block Captain and Landscaping Committees and in 2010, Founding Chair of the Silver Strand Annual Block Party. Without Nora’s vision and determination to create a sense of neighborliness in our community,the Block Party and much else might not have happened.
The Day Ends as it Began:
Jennifer Manoogian, Silver Strand Block Captain and, for two years running, Chair of the Silver Strand Block Party did her usual superb job of the organizing details of the party, hand delivering flyers to all 229 residences three times in a row on foot, and keeping things running smoothly. She was last spotted at 5:30pm hauling street blocking boards down Roma Court for pick up.