BY HALDIS TOPPEL
Special to Circling the News
The Marquez Knolls Property Owners Association (MKPOA) held its first block party in three years and it was pronounced a great success by merchants, community members and visitors.
The morning started early when Mark Rhomberg was joined by Dikran Dalian, George Wakalopulos and a friend to help set up the MKPOA tent.
The parking meters on Marquez and Bollinger were covered with “free parking” bags to everyone’s delight.
Then it was time to blow up balloons, with helpers, Holly Davis, Marc McTizic, Michael Edlen, Mark Rhomberg, Mark Galanty and Howard Robinson. Some pumped helium, others tied the string and then runners distributed them all over the street tying them on parking meters, benches and trees, wherever they could find a convenient and fun spot. The street ended up looking festive with about 40 colorful balloons floating high in the sky.
Performers and food started arriving, and included the face painter, balloon artist and the magician. The merchant setups sprung up and of course the MKPOA table was decorated.
Davis, McTizic, Rhomberg, Robert Trinkkeller, David Rosendahl and Dikran Dalian, promoted MKPOA membership and raffle tickets, and provided information about MKPOA. Galanty and Robinson did heavy-duty networking and were clearly having fun.
At the 11 a.m. opening of the event, Station 29 LAFD fire truck and an accompanying ambulance arrived to the excitement of the crowd gathered. Captain Nuttmann and his crew immediately engaged with the crowd, enjoyed a juicy hot dog and made many kids and adults happy with impressive equipment and uniforms.
There were only happy faces in the family-oriented crowd. There were lines waiting for the bounce house, face painter, balloon artist, magician, and of course the hot dogs. About 250 fee hot dogs were served and 100 frozen yogurt servings.
Greg Alper’s jazz band was fabulous, with happy tunes echoing through the neighborhood. The Oasis massage chair was a special treat.
Gerry Blanck’s Martial Art’s Center gave an impressive demonstration with adult and children students. The highlight was when a pint-sized Munchkin raced down a 20-ft. stretch of pavement in his tiny martial arts coat, belt flapping, and with a piercing “Hiya!” smashed an outstretched wooden board to smithereens with his bare feet. The crowd roared!
At 1 p.m. MKPOA President, Howard Robinson welcomed the crowd. He encouraged neighbors to join the organization and expanded on the benefits and opportunities of belonging to MKPOA.
ACS Security was recognized for its major sponsorship of the event that included the great hot dog feast, and funding for the entertainment.
Two new stores were introduced: Prana by Lana, a gift store, and The Gray Dragon, a kid’s clothing and toy store, which is slated to open next month.
City Councilwoman Traci Park’s Field Deputy Michael Amster was on hand to answer questions. West Los Angeles Commander Captain III Rich Gabaldon arrived and visited with members of the community.
About $150 worth of raffle tickets were sold for prizes donated by Marquez merchants. One of the favorite prizes selected was 10 Domino’s Pizzas, followed by assorted gift baskets. A determined 10-year-old winner chose the grand prize, a security system from ACS, valued at $1,000. “It’s for my family,” the boy said, and proudly walked off with the award flyer.
According to everyone who participated, this block party was a great success.