The holidays are upon us, whether or not we are ready.

Without snow, it is so easy in Los Angeles to forget about the holidays but, I must admit, I really don’t miss looking out my window in New Hampshire and seeing four feet of snow.

This month, there are a lot of holiday parties and events to tell you all about in hopes that you will participate.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to enjoy your neighbors and community this season and that your holiday will also include presents, parties, lots of great food and extra days off to spend with your families and friends.

VISITATION SCHOOL — Starting off the season, Visitation School in Westchester and Santa present the Second Annual Santa’s Snowy Village and the Festival of Trees between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Sunday, December 5th.

Santa’s elves will arrive by fire engine at noon, Mrs. Claus will arrive by limo at 12:30 p.m. and Santa will arrive in his own helicopter at 1 p.m. at Visitation School, 8740 Emerson Ave., Westchester.

The free event will feature fun for the entire family.

There will be lots of good food, games and entertainment, including a silent auction.

Information, Terry O’Connor at (310) 994-9904 or e-mail

PLAYA VISTA CONCERT —As a follow-up to its very successful summer concert series, Playa Vista will hold another of its terrific concerts in Concert Park between 6:30 and 8 p.m. Friday, December 10th.

The weather may not be as balmy as it was during the summer concerts but I am sure we will all have a great time enjoying this holiday concert.

WESTCHESTER PARADE — The Sixth Annual Westchester Holiday Street Parade will be marching down Manchester Avenue beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 12th. The theme this year is “Celebrating the Community with Music.”

The starting point of the parade will be Loyola Boulevard at Manchester Avenue. The parade will continue to Emerson Avenue. Information, Lorrie Leon, (310) 863-0834.


Second Annual Holiday Party for the boys and girls at the Oakwood Recreation Center, 767 California Ave., is scheduled from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, December 17th.

The party is sponsored by the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), the city attorney, Los Angeles Councilwoman Cindy Miscikowski, the Los Angeles City Fire Department, the LAPD Pacific Area Boosters, the Venice-Marina Rotary Club, the Venice Chamber of Commerce and many other generous community supporters.

Santa will begin a ride around the community in his sleigh, beginning in the Palms area at 4 p.m. and traveling throughout the Venice community before arriving at the Oakwood Recreation Center party.

At the party, there will be food and toys, and Santa will welcome all the good little girls and boys to sit on his lap and tell him what they want for Christmas.

Since this party was such a huge success last year, the event has been expanded to include the Mar Vista Gardens community from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, December 13th.

Santa will again ride around in his sleigh in the Del Rey area, Marina del Rey, and then into the Mar Vista Gardens Community Center, 4909 Allin Drive, at 6:30 p.m. to enjoy food, pass out toys, and listen to all the children’s dreams for Christmas.

These events are open to the public and all donations of food, new unwrapped toys and, of course, cash are welcomed.

The LAPD Pacific Community Police Station, 12312 Culver Blvd. and all Los Angeles City Fire Department stations are collecting unwrapped toys for distribution.

Information, the LAPD Pacific Community Police Station community relations office, (310) 202-4524.

SANTA IN WESTCHESTER — It seems that Santa is one very busy fellow this time of year.

He will also be “Comin’ to Town” between 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, December 15th, in Westchester, sponsored by the Westchester/LAX-Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce.

Santa will begin his route at 4:30 p.m. in the Kentwood community of Westchester and visit streets between 80th Street and 85th Place on McConnell Avenue, Chase Street and Kenyon, Stewart, Westlawn and Dunbarton Avenues.

Santa will also visit the streets between Emerson and Alverstone Avenues on 81st and 82nd Streets.

Beginning at approximately 6:30 p.m., Santa will be in the Westport Heights area visiting the streets between 78th and 82nd Streets on Naylor, Vicksburg, Truxton, Croydon, Bleriot and Airlane Avenues.

Information, Westchester-LAX/Marina del Rey Chamber office, (310) 645-5151.

YOUTHBUILD GRADS —Venice Community Housing Corporation will hold its Venice YouthBuild Graduation 2004 from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, November 17th, in the Furama Hotel, 8601 Lincoln Blvd., Westchester.

Venice YouthBuild trains at-risk youths in construction trades, helps the youths develop leadership skills, supports them to obtain high school diplomas or GEDs and connects the youths to jobs so they can transition into long-term employment or continue educational pursuits.

Reservations, (310) 399-4100 ext. 122.

JOINT MIXER — The Venice Chamber of Commerce and the Abbot Kinney District Association will hold a joint holiday mixer from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 17th, at Just Tantau, 1353 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice.

This event will be a kickoff to the holiday season along Abbot Kinney Boulevard, which will include late-night shopping Saturday, December 4th.

Information, the Venice Chamber, (310) 822-5425.

VENICE CENTENNIAL — The Venice Centennial continues to gather steam in planning a wide variety of fun and historical events for next summer.

The Centennial Development Committee, headed by local financial advisor Michael McMillan, is hard at work seeking local and national sponsorships for the Centennial.

Steve Aguilar of Boardwalk Realty recently pledged a major sponsorship and a number of other Venice residents and business owners have indicated their willingness to participate.

The Centennial Development Committee is also scheduling events, both for fundraising and to increase awareness for the Centennial.

The goal is to have at least one event each month preceding the official celebration kickoff, scheduled for the latter part of June.

It is not too late to get involved. If interested, contact David Buchanan, (310) 822-0024 or e-mail

FLU VACCINE — On a more serious note, I know that you have all heard about the flu vaccine shortage in our country.

The County of Los Angeles is sponsoring two flu vaccine clinics to help people who are 65 years and older or who suffer from chronic illness.

The flu vaccine clinics in our area will be held at the Venice Family Clinic/Burke Health Center, 2509 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica, at 9 a.m. Saturday, November 13th, and Saturday, November 20th.

The vaccines will be given on a first come/first served basis. It is still important that we all take extra precautions to avoid contact with flu sufferers and to wash our hands often, but this program will at least help those who are in the most danger of the serious effects of the flu this winter.

Those with small children between the ages of 23 months and six years are encouraged to contact their pediatrician to obtain the flu vaccine or check the County Web site, for a community clinic near you with pediatric flu vaccine.

If you have any questions regarding the flu vaccine clinics, call Joy Bostic, (310) 998-3206.

Mary Richert can be reached at mrichert@ucla.ed