Rodeo Drive was bedecked, bedazzled and bejeweled for its annual Holiday Lighting Celebration on Nov. 16. As in previous years, thousands converged on the world-famous thoroughfare to enjoy an evening of diversions, themed décor and entertainment. But it was the simple act of greeting friends on the sidewalk that provided the most holiday cheer.
As Mayor Dr. Julian Gold noted last week, “Our Holiday Lighting Celebration is an opportunity for us to come together, recognize how fortunate we are, and begin this year’s holiday season—a celebration of our city and a hopeful beginning for the New Year.”
He added, “At the same time, we recognize the impact of world events and our thoughts are with those here and abroad as we approach the holiday season. We hope they can find a sense of hopefulness and strength as we all overcome darkness with light.”
Light was in abundance at the celebration, encircling palm trees, holiday displays and the world-renowned storefronts of Rodeo Drive. As part of the festivities, Gold led a countdown to illuminate the center median, adorned with banners, garland, oversized, brightly-wrapped packages and—in a nod to the “Up, Up & Away Holiday!” theme—deco- rative hot air balloons. On block after block, faces young and old lit up at the sight of performance artists on roller skates, dressed up as “holiday packages,” while towering “Candy Cane people” strolled by on stilts.
In keeping with tradition, Santa made his way down Rodeo Drive from atop a Beverly Hills Fire Department truck, accompanied by the Beverly Hills High School Marching Band. The crowd collectively held its breath for a tree lighting at the Rodeo Collection. And, then they enthusiastically welcomed Emmy Award-winning actor and singer Sheryl Lee Ralph to the main stage. After Ralph belted out some holiday classics, a brilliant fireworks display lit up the sky. The sparkling—and uplifting—finale reminded everyone that Beverly Hills will always find light to overcome the darkness.