Los Angeles - El Pueblo de Los Angeles Monument and El Pueblo Park Association presented the 2012 Holiday Season Lighting Ceremony at historic Olvera Street. The event was held on Friday, November 30th, from 5pm-9pm, on a cold, soggy evening.
The event featured LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Councilmember Tom LaBonge, District 4, City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, Miguel Vargas from the Office of Councilmember Jose Huizar, District 14,and some Royalty. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Queen and Court was also present for the festivitites.
The program got under way promptly at 5:00pm after a few welcome remarks by the Master of Ceremonies. Walnut High School Women's Ensemble Rhapsody in Blue, directed by Mrs. Lisa Lopez, kicked off the entertainment portion of the show. These beautiful, young ladies looked dazzling in their matching dresses. They performed a fantastic set of holiday tunes. The group opened with a swinging version of "Jingle Bell Rock." The show continued with "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," a version that had a tinge of classic Beach Boys sounds. They slowed the tempo down with "Dormi, Dormi" an Italian lullaby featuring Lisa Culpepper as soloist. Next up was "Oh Santa" by Mariah Carey, followed by "Home for the Holidays" to conclude their wonderful set. If the opportunity presents itself, check out this ensemble in a full concert for an incredible musical experience.
The cultural celebration continued with Grupo Folklorico de Antelope Valley directed by Lisa Lozano. This group showcased the colorful, vibrant dances of various regions of Mexico.
The Mariachi Divas took the entertainment up a notch during their set. They performed "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," "White Christmas" and a high octane original tune "Viva la Diva."
The Tournament of Roses Queen and Court were invited onstage and introduced to the public gathered at the ceremony. Tournament of Roses Queen, Vanessa Manjarrez addressed the crowd in Spanish, speaking about the school that she attends and her future goals. She also thanked the organizers for hosting her and her Court. Ms. Manjarrez will preside over the 124th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the 99th Rose Bowl Game on January 1,2013. The 2013 Tournament of Roses Queen and Court consist of Tournament of Roses Queen Vanessa Manjarrez, Princess Nicole Nelam, Princess Sonia Shenoi, Princess Madison Teodo, Princess Victoria McGregor, Princess Tracey Cresta and Princess Kathryne Benuska.
Tournament of Roses Queen Vanessa Manjarrez, with assistance from Scrat-the saber tooth squirrel from the animated motion picture "Ice Age" and Miguel Vargas, from the Office of Councilmember Jose Huizar, District 14, pulled the lever to light the 20 ft. plaza Christmas Tree.
The festivities continued until 9pm with performances by Esperanza Vocal Music Ensemble and others. Complimentary hot chocolate, champurrado (a Mexican hot beverage) and pan dulce (pastries) were served to attendees.
20th Century Fox presented a children's arts and crafts workshop especially themed for the upcoming DVD release of the animated motion picture "Ice Age" on Blu-Ray and DVD, December 11th,2012.
This special tree lighting ceremony, at the home of world famous Olvera Street marks the official start of the holiday season at the city's birthplace in downtown Los Angeles where visitors can explore museums, enjoy authentic Mexican cuisine or shop for handicrafts and other unique gifts.
El Pueblo Historic Monument is located between Main and Alameda Street in downtown Los Angeles. Public transportation is available via Metrolink,MTA rail and bus service to Union Station. Visit www.calleolvera.com/events for more information.