What A Great Evening!
FINALLY, SOME GOOD NEWS
In a year which has seen the City of Costa Mesa in turmoil - with budget concerns causing new council members to initiate ill-advised and illegal schemes to outsource most city services and issue premature layoff notices to nearly half the staff and political opportunists attempting to re-construct city government - it looks like it might draw to a close with positive vibrations. No city needed an event like Tuesday night's launch of the Snoopy House more than Costa Mesa.
WEATHER WAS JUST RIGHT
The weather cooperated by dispersing the clouds that had dropped a quarter inch of rain over the past couple days, leaving a crisp, cool and nearly perfect evening for the Grand Lighting of the City Hall and the launch of the Snoopy House - a 45-year-old tradition in Costa Mesa that seemed destined for the scrap heap only ten days ago.
HATCH IN CHARGE
A couple hundred people attended the 5:30 ceremony orchestrated by City Chief Executive Officer Tom Hatch, who gave us his imitation of the dialogue from a Charlie Brown Christmas at one point. Christmas songs were sung, Costa Mesa High School Cheerleaders gave us pep. JORDANS EXPRESS THEIR GRATITUDE
Jim Jordan and his wife tugged at our collective heartstrings as they expressed their gratitude to Hatch and other city officials for saving the Snoopy House display - a fixture on the lawn of their Eastside Costa Mesa home for more than four decades until the house got mired in financial distress and is in foreclosure.
There were many other highlights last night. Snoopy was in attendance, thrilling the children who snuggled up to him.
The arrival of Santa for the first of a dozen visits between now and December 23rd was a real treat. Kids with their parents lined up to perch on Santa's lap and tell him what they want for Christmas and to receive free photographs. And photographers squeezed together to capture those moments.
A "TREE PERSON"
One young fella found the perfect vantage point for viewing the ceremonies.
City staffers and other volunteers manned the booths to offer hot apple cider and peddle commemorative t-shirts.
LET THERE BE LIGHT...
There was a ceremonial "flip of the switch", when the colorful illumination of City Hall itself created a breath-taking backdrop and all the lights and animation on the displays themselves jumped to life.
FROM NOW THROUGH NEW YEAR'S EVE...
The future of the Snoopy House display is unclear at this time, but for the next couple of weeks it will be on the lawn of City Hall for visitors to enjoy from 5-10 p.m. every evening from now through New Year's Eve.
This event has received nationwide notoriety - I saw the Associated Press story in the Washington Post, for example. Print and electronic news media were on the scene last night, capturing the moment and interviewing folks.
KUDOS TO ALL INVOLVED
Thanks to Hatch, Bill Lobdell, Dan Joyce and all the tireless volunteers who managed to get the Snoopy House moved from the Eastside to City Hall and put it all together and get it running in time for the festivities last night. We, the residents of this city, needed that.