50 was GREAT!  

  How did Villa Park CELEBRATE?
The City of Villa Park's 50th Anniversary was a fabulous year long celebration of memories of the past, the joys of today and the hopes for tomorrow. At the request of the VP City Council, the VPCS Foundation took the lead in early 2011 for event fundraising, planning and realization of a variety of special occasions with the assistance of a very dedicated Anniversary Committee chaired by Doug Bender. Strange, but true, with the on-going theme of 50 is Great! Let's Celebrate! created by Liz Marsh, the committee (Kay Rogers, Rich Ulmer, Jim & Karen Christensen, Jill Kuli, Jan VanEmon, Cookie Stubing and Sharon Nicola), met fifty times to realize this golden dream.  

The Villa Park 50th Anniversary celebration began at the 601st City Council Meeting on January 16, 2012 after the American and VP Golden Anniversary flags were raised with Mayor Reese, Mayor Pro Tem MacAloney, and Council members Fauteux, Pauly and Ulmer answering to roll call. Fifteen former Council members were recognized and other dignitaries introduced. Over a hundred members of the community were also in attendance and enjoyed the first choral performance of the 50th Anniversary song, Here's to Villa Park, written by resident Jim Christensen. Attendees were invited to enjoy an anniversary cake plus view memorabilia related to the City's incorporation that was on display in the Library. Following the meeting, there was an informal no-host dinner reception at Rockwell's for those that wished to stay and visit with neighbors and friends.

Mayor Brad Reese,  Bob Fauteux
Mayor ProTem Bill MacAloney  Deborah Pauly  Rich Ulmer
                 THE GALA

WOW! Thanks to the major financial sponsors (Union Bank, Friends of the VP Library, Chapman University and VP Rotary), February 12th was definitely an affordable (and ˜sold out") evening that the many GALA guests will long remember. Everything from the tour of exhibits in the Nixon Library to the Historical VP Video produced by Nicole Jones to beautiful floral center pieces created by The Flowery to the unique cake designed by Rockwell's to visiting with Emcee and VPHS grad, Henry DiCarlo, to the cobalt blue wine goblets with the Anniversary logo to the amazing dinner catered by the White House to the song and dance routines performed by Carol Lawrence to the patriotic All American Boys Chorus performance to the incredible dance music of the Villa Park High Jazz Band. Kudos to the Gala Committee of Chair Kay Rogers, Denise Bittel, Birgit Miller and Pam Dunn for attending to all the special details for the perfect social segue into a year full of fun, prizes and surprises. 

What a Night!
Thanks to Andie Mills and Holly von Ting, the summer of 2012 started off with a splash! The Dolphin Tale film was the first of a series of three outdoor Free Family Movie Nights featured up on the "Big Apple" on the Serrano School playground on June 22nd, "Toy Story" and "The Lorax" were enjoyed by many families in July and August. Prior to the dusk start of the films, kids enjoyed many activities including hula hoop contests and frisbee throws on the campus...and the sweet treat prizes that went along with them. 
"Gold Vibrations!" resounded throughout the Concert in the (Villa) Park on August 19th as folks were imagining hangin' ten and doing some California dreaming as they got caught up in the many sixties tunes of the Beach Boys performed by Catch A Wave in the VP High School amphitheater. Earlier in the evening, "Here"s to Villa Park," a musical smash hit of the history of our city featuring many members of the community was performed in the VPHS Performing Arts Center. It was choreographed by Marilyn Magness and included some original music written by Jim Christensen. 

Karen Christensen directed the chorals with fun costuming by Anne Frackelton for the performers including many VPWL past presidents. The future of Villa Park also came alive on this special evening with performances by many student groups as well as Celebration USA and the VPHS Jazz Band while enjoying the cuisine from the visiting food trucks. Our City of Villa staff really took the lead in putting this event all together. High fives especially go to Ryan Smoot, Taylor Garrett and Mike Knowles.
"The 60's Live on...forever" was the theme of the VP Family and Friends Community Picnic at Irvine Lake on May 27th chaired by Greg Mills. Everyone rocked out with Elvis and many searched for his missing blue suede shoe. Boat tours of Irvine Lake excited the adults as did the 60's twist contest won by Angela Fasbender. As part of picnic tradition, the kids especially enjoyed a Scavenger Hunt sponsored by the VP Women's League, the bounce houses, silly string shoots and carnival games. The pie eating, hula hoop, limbo and shoe walk contests along with sack races engaged the crowd as did the VPE vs. Serrano annual Tug-O-War, won again by the Bobcats. Occupied by all ages of "dignitaries," the dunk tank splashed non-stop all afternoon long. This fabulous family day ended with many folks taking home great prizes donated by local businesses.  

A Salute to Veterans and a never forget Remembrance of 9-11 attacks on our nation was spearheaded by Councilmember Deborah Pauly. A motorcycle flag brigade led by OUSD Board Member Mark Wayland assisted in the dedication of a tall new city flag pole funded by Irvine Lake/Serrano Water District. An outdoor version of the city flag, originally designed by Marilyn English, was also added to the flag pole for the first time. Community veterans were recognized and their dedication to our country applauded. It made us all proud to be Americans.

The VP Towne Center was alive with spooktacular decorations and activities on October 30th as the 11th annual HalloweenFest became the true haunting ground for free raffle surprises (an iPod, digital camera, and a bike) in addition to costume prizes for our youth. Some were "Going for the Anniversary Gold" by dressing in traditional sixties themes. And, doggone it, even the Scraps Dog Contest brought out the best "˜woof-stock".  Decorated pumpkins and colored graphics plus photo opts with Dean Thomas were enjoyed inside City Hall while on the street scene was the free hayride along with OCFA Fire Engines and OC Sheriff's vehicles to explore. Vendors lured the hungry with everything from Batwurst to Carmel Corn while treats with no tricks came from merchants. Our Ghostess with the Mostess, Julia Peterson, and her 'Boo Crew' of Nicol Jones, Francine Sawyer, Susan Powell, Holly Von Ting, Julie Krodel, and Susanna Shortall were the true VP bootiful 2012 superheroes of the night. 

There is no doubt Virginia, Santa loves Villa Park. And, the community loves him, too. Once again, the old bearded guy left his elves working in the toy workshop back at the North Pole on December 8th so he could visit with all the families in our town. The annual Santa Tour by Fire Truck included all five of the City Council members as his special "VP Elf" helpers. 

As they drove down the streets of town and made 28 stops, the elves handed out bushels of candy while Santa listened to promises of being nice plus holiday gift wishes and posing for special photos. It was truly a jolly day! Rumor has it that he spent the night with a VP family as he really looked forward to the annual wacky holiday cruise and celebration the next evening in the Towne Centre. 
With the theme of "On Golden Seas," the 2012 Dry Land Yacht Parade on December 9 was the perfect climax to the 50th Anniversary of the City of Villa Park, especially since Doug Bender, our Anniversary Chair, was chosen to be the Grand Marshal. A large number of Segway drivers in lighted Santa caps plus all forms decorated boats and wheeled transports made their way through Villa Park resulting in 50+ vessels to add to the holiday joy of those lining our asphalt harbor. As always, neighborhoods were party central for events such as VPWL's Simply Social group prior to the parade. A large crowd also waited at the docks in the Towne Centre to cheer on the arrival of their favorite nauty but nice entries and learn who won the trophies featuring a golden anniversary emblem handmade by event chair, Teri Brooks Elmendorf. Visiting with friends and neighbors while munching on fun food from vendors and enjoying the holiday music played by the Community Band under the direction of Major Chuck Jay of VPHS added to the sparkle of our hidden jewel community. 

The success of the 50th Anniversary events initiated by the VPCSF committee depended upon a significant golden brigade of dedicated volunteers, including so many students in the community, our special event photographer, Mark Schmidt and the publicity through Brian Kalchman of "The Hidden Jewel Magazine." Our 24/7 Councilman, Bob Fauteux, who unexpectedly earned his angel wings in January will always be remembered for his amazing dedication to our city. Early in the planning stages, Bob engaged Jackie Steward to design our 50th Anniversary logo and was so pleased to assist flying our golden flags throughout the city, often referring to himself as "Mr. Betsy Ross." There is no doubt that his heavenly presence will continue to guide the city well beyond 2012. 

The quality of the VPCSF sponsored events also depended upon additional funding to meet the goal of being affordable to everyone in the community. The personally engraved bricks placed in front of our renovated city hall were the vision of Denise Bittel and will enhance the walkway with years of memories. Thanks to Sue Kaiser, a new geranium named "The Hidden Jewel" will forever bloom and grow in our city. Many participated in the 50/50 opportunity drawing as well as purchased memorabilia of golden jewelry and flags presented by Jill Kuli. In addition to the City of Villa Park, utilities, banks, and businesses plus local organizations were extremely generous in their donations, as were the Foundation members. Check them all out here on the Foundation website and tell them THANKS!