Happy 100th, Larchmont Boulevard!

| October 28, 2021 | 0 Comments

LARCHMONT BOULEVARD CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION took place in the middle of the Oct. 24 Sunday farmers market. Officiating at the “cake cutting“ (really, a distribution of cupcakes) were, from left, starting in the rear on the stage: State Senator Ben Allen, LAPD Wilshire Division Commanding Officer Captain Sonia Monico, Fourth District City Councilmember Nithya Raman, LAFD Battalion Chief Robert Takeshita and State Assemblymember Richard Bloom. In the front row, from left, are: Larchmont Village Neighborhood Association President Charles D’Atri, Windsor Square Association President Larry Guzin, First-In Fire Foundation President Lyn MacEwen Cohen, Larchmont Village Business Improvement District Co-Executive Director Heather Duffy Boylston, Larchmont Boulevard Association President John Winther and Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council President Conrad Starr. Photo by Bill Devlin

Community leaders, local merchants, landlords and shoppers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the original Larchmont Boulevard shopping district on Sunday, October 24 — in person and through television. A wide array of TV station news crews and other local media descended upon the boulevard, some as early as 5 a.m. (ABC-TV’s weekend morning shows) to join local merchants and residents in celebrating the 100 years since the founding of the Larchmont shopping district in 1921.

CUPCAKES by Caroline Tracy.

The event was sponsored by the merchants’ association, the Larchmont Boulevard Association (LBA). Annually at this time of year, and generally on that same Sunday, the LBA produces the popular Larchmont Family Fair. A 56-year local tradition since 1966, the fair was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the pandemic. No costume contest and no scary rides this year! But there was some tension. Many attendees claimed that the dramatic high point of this year’s centennial event involved the cupcakes. There was cringing and gasping any time the tall and narrow, yellow-draped table was moved — with viewers fearing that the seven-tier display of birthday cupcakes would tip over any time the table was rearranged front and center on the stage, or when the dignitaries were walking onto the stage with steps too heavy. Councilmember Raman quipped that the mild earthquake (3.6) earlier in the morning seemed nowhere near as threatening as the speakers’ own footsteps on the stage.

But all was well, the tower of cupcakes did not fall, speeches were made, photos were taken, and those 100 cupcakes, plus 152 more, were distributed to attendees. For this special day, the center of the usual farmers market in the surface parking lot was left wide open. The vendor tents that normally would have been in that space were arranged up and down the curb along the sidewalk on the west side of the street.

TIERS OF CUPCAKES to her left, Fourth District City Councilmember Nithya Raman addresses the audience, with State Senator Ben Allen and LAPD Wilshire Division Commanding Officer Captain Sonia Monico standing behind. Photo by Bill Devlin

Officials spoke

The elected officials who spoke and extended their greetings to the merchants, property owners and customers of Larchmont Boulevard shops included the Boulevard’s state senator, Ben Allen, and assemblymember, Richard Bloom. Local City Councilmember Nithya Raman spoke not only on the stage but also presided over the dedication of the latest street tree added to the Boulevard. Filling a long-vacant tree well in front of 141 North Larchmont, the staff of the city’s “Streets LA” department installed a large African fern pine purchased by the Windsor Square Association. Nearby store, Tailwaggers, has accepted responsibility for the needed weekly tree watering. Mayor Garcetti was expected to attend, but an email from his staff, just as the program was underway, said he was unable to join the celebration.

COUNCILMEMBER Nithya Raman and Windsor Square Association president Larry Guzin gave the new sidewalk street tree a drink and welcomed it to the Boulevard. Photo by Bill Devlin

Musicians performed

The raised stage, in the middle of the market, was backed by a powder blue centennial banner and a truly extraordinary garland of big, bright, colorful balloons. The stage also served as the setting for music from students of Rhodes School of Music. Four separate performances came from Lennon Wedren, guitar and vocals; Nadja Vikram-Bugaj, piano and vocals; Zain Vikram-Bugaj, guitar; and Daniel Post, drums.

All of the special Centennial activity, including distribution of souvenir printed Programs and free copies of the Larchmont Chronicle Souvenir Collector’s Edition and booklet, “Larchmont Boulevard: Then & Now,” wound down even before the usual end time of the Sunday market. By late afternoon, one of the volunteers from Scout Troop 10 or the LBA — who had been moving tottering cupcakes as well as heavy boxes, traffic cones, and folding tables, plus hanging banners and doing all the other organizing — observed that the event was “really worthwhile, but not again for another 100 years, please.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *