What is The Luminaria Festival? Well For One Thing, A Chance to Meet Your Neighborhood Council

Sunday's completely free community event is also an afternoon of kids activities, entertainment and history.

Not only is the on Sunday afternoon a chance to explore the site that is crucial to California history—and go into that in the shadow of the skyscrapers—but it’s a chance to find out about something that may be a bit more mysterious to some people—the

What promises to be an afternoon of entertainment, oral history and hot cocoa and cookies—set in a backdrop of hundreds of beautifully-lit bags (the “luminaria”)—is also an open house to the neighborhood council, and an informal meet-and-greet with the members of the board.

“Every single one of us must be at this Luminaria,” admonished at the “Everyone needs to show up. Bring your families. Show up, show up!”

The 15 adults and one youth member of the all-volunteer  are usually only seen and heard from at their monthly meetings at the . And, even though it is one of the best regularly-attended neighborhood councils in all of the 96 in the city (many of the councils have more people on the panel than in the audience on a regular basis), the members on the board and what they do may continue to be a mystery to the general public.

“This is a good chance to just have a relaxing time and chat with each other,” said , one of the board members who helped organize the event and is chair of the

The neighborhood council, voted in by Studio City stakeholders, serves as an advisory body to the three Los Angeles City Council members that represent Studio City—Tom LaBonge, Paul Krekorian and Paul Koretz—as well as offers input to many city departments about community issues, and doles out about $45,000 to schools and neighborhood needs every year.

And, what better place to have the low-key event than in a place that you’ve most likely passed hundreds of times and always wondered what was inside? The Lankershim Boulevard in Studio City, is that old brick building across the street from Universal Studios with a grassy plot in the front and a. The grew around it, as did the large commuter parking lot—and people still probably wonder about those markings on the roadway crossing Lankershim that actually outline the original plot of the Campo.

It’s one of those places that most of us have put on our “things to do list” but like Brooklynites who see the Statute of Liberty across the water every day, they never set foot inside.

The Campo is in fact the place thanks to the signing of the . And, like the debates that go on in the neighborhood council, the treaty paved the way to end hostilities between Mexico and California.

The is dedicated to a pioneer woman, Doña Bernarda Ruiz, who helped get both sides to agree to the treaty, but it hasn’t worked in more than 40 years until recently.

In the old tradition, paper bags lit with candles were used for the Luminaria around the holidays, but Niederberg knows that would be hazard, especially with the recent winds, and they look will be the same, but it will all be electronic.  

So, the event is meant to enlighten the public not only about what’s inside the Campo, but what the Studio City Neighborhood Council is all about. They may or may not have elections in the upcoming year, but certainly they discuss issues that involve everyone in the area, and they do even more than what Studio City Patch can possibly cover.

The board approved $1,500 to spend on The Luminaria Festival event, and it is free to all. There will be story time from the and as well as live entertainment.

Parking is free at the Universal City Red Line Station lot and it runs from 3 to 6 p.m., at 3919 Lankershim Blvd.

Miki Henderson December 09, 2011 at 07:30 PM
I'm so excited about this and look forward to meeting Lisa Sarkin in person and Melody Dotsch of the Farmers Market.
Lisa Cahan Davis December 09, 2011 at 08:00 PM
Thank you, Mike, for sharing this SCNC event with your readers! We at SCNC are excited for Sunday's holiday event! We look forward to bringing our community more events in 2012. And...I encourage any Studio City stakeholder to attend our monthly Committee and Board meetings. www.studiocitync.org.
Mike Szymanski December 10, 2011 at 07:38 PM
The campo itself is a very cool place to visit. I encourage all to drop by to say hi
E.M. Fredric December 10, 2011 at 11:47 PM
Mike, you're an amazing editor, supportive friend to this city and me. We are all so lucky to have you.


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