McGroarty Chili Bowl Fest Returns for the Holidays

Every year, hundreds of people flock to McGroarty Arts Center in Tujunga to buy a new handmade chili bowl and try a variety of tasty chili recipes while getting an chili-bowlsearly start on holiday shopping. This year, the 14th Annual Chili Bowl Fest (held Saturday, Dec. 3) and the Holiday Art & Craft Faire
(Dec. 3 and Dec. 4) will be offering several new features: The weekend event will be expanding to the upper parking lot of McGroarty where there will be outdoor seating and a live band performing, and on Sunday, the Faire will be devoted to the spirit of the holidays. Santa Claus will be present to take photos with children, holiday carolers will serenade everyone with good cheer and holiday cookies will be available for the kids to paint.

As a special attraction, there will be a comedy fundraiser on  Sunday fritz-coleman-headshotevening featuring NBC Channel 4 meteorologist Fritz Coleman in his one-man show “Defying Gravity,” described as a hilarious glimpse into one man’s journey from childhood to “old age.”

“The show presents an hour and a half of laughing hard and reflecting on what it’s like getting older,” said Coleman. “Getting old isn’t pretty but it sure is funny!”

The single performance of Defying Gravity will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 at the Ice House, 24 Mentor Ave. in Pasadena with 100% of the proceeds going to the McGroarty Arts Center. Tickets are $15 and $22 for the 180-seat room. After Coleman’s show there will be an auction of services and prizes, donated by local artists, to raise money for McGroarty.

Coleman said his participation in the annual fundraiser for the McGroarty Arts Center comes from his interest in supporting the arts.

“I have three children and it has been sad to watch arts programs in schools diminish over the last 10 years, or so. I think the nurturing, creative programs at McGroarty have never been more necessary than they are right now. This event will be a chance for folks to help sustain this jewel of a facility. Plus… I promise… it’ll be the most fun you’ll ever have being philanthropic!”

Best known for his professional career as a weatherman, Coleman has been honing his standup comedy routine in clubs through the decades. He has also been named “Best Weatherman” in nearly every major paper in Southern California and has won numerous honors and awards for his dedication to his community.

Dawn Jenkins, Community Relations Committee chair at McGroarty Arts Center, added, “This year, in addition to the chili fest, bake sale, and Holiday Faire, we will be serving craft beer and featuring live music by an outstanding Los Angeles band. There will be ample seating under tents outside in the upper parking lot. There will be artists and vendors, inside and outside the building on both days, and we’ll have a golf cart transporting people from the street up to the top of the driveway.”

For those who have never attended the Annual Chili Bowl Fest, it’s a very popular event. (Parking is limited at McGroarty so plan on parking on the street  or – better still – carpooling with others to this event). Those who want to enjoy a bowl of chili can select the bowl of their choice for $15 from a dazzling selection of colorful ceramic bowls (bowls are also sold separately for $12) then fill up from an assortment of eight or 10 chili varieties, made by volunteers from the Sunland-Tujunga Rotary Club.

A slice of fresh corn bread comes with each bowl of chili as well as a variety of condiments. Also available for purchase are soft drinks or some of the scrumptious desserts baked by volunteers.

After eating, guests can stroll through McGroarty’s historic rooms to see local artisans’ crafts, such as creations in glass, woven pieces, unique jewelry, homemade soaps, candles, decorative artwork, handmade cards and beautiful pottery.

Whether guests come for the chili, the bowls, to shop for unique gifts or to experience some laughs at the Ice House, all will contribute to the ongoing operations of McGroarty where classes are held all year round in the arts, drama, yoga and other performing arts.

The McGroarty Arts Center is located at 7570 McGroarty Terrace in Tujunga. For more information, call (818) 352-5285 or visit

For advance tickets to the Ice House show, go to or purchase a ticket at the door.

First Responders Honored with Holiday Feast

On Friday, November 18, 2016, a dinner and concert were held at All Nation’s Church in Lake View Terrace to honor the men and women who put their lives at risk to protect others. The 9th Annual Thanksgiving Appreciation Dinner and Concert was dedicated to first responders, which includes LAPD, LAFD, county fire, the Forestry Rangers and the Hansen Dam Rangers.

Cile Borman, a community activist who has served as president of Foothills Trails District Neighborhood Council, the Lakeview Terrace Improvement Association, president of Lakeview Terrace Friends of the Library, and as outreach chair for All Nation’s Church, defined first responders as, “A person who runs toward danger to keep other people safe.”

In addition to performing with the All Nation’s Church choir, Borman acted as mistress of ceremonies for the event, which fed several hundred people from the surrounding communities.
“Every year, the church likes to do something for the community,” said Borman. “This year, it wanted to honor first responders. As you know there have been a lot of fires over the past six months in our area. A lot of the reasoning behind this event was to honor these men and women who work to protect our lives, the environment and our property. Unless you are right in the middle of it, I don’t think you recognize how hard they work. The police, forestry and fire department work together as a smooth unit. It’s a very dangerous job.”

She added, “Whether it’s a soldier going off to war or a policeman on the beat, the reason that they are there is because they have a desire to protect the population.

At the Appreciation Dinner, our first responders were saluted and honored, both during the dinner and in the award presentation that followed.”

Pastor Tae Kim of All Nation’s Church and many of the church volunteers helped create a multi-course dinner, which was free to all who attended. Many other community volunteers helped prepare the dinner, paid for the food and donated gift baskets for the free raffle. In addition to serving a generous barbecue dinner, the church hosted the musical program, followed by the awarding of certificates to numerous first responders.

To view the story as published in the Crescenta Valley Weekly, please go to:


Los Angeles, CA (November 1, 2016) – Pat Kramer, owner of Writer For Hire®, a marketing and public relations firm in Sunland, CA, attributes a neighborhood emergency preparedness plan that she wrote with neighbors for helping save a family of ten in a fast – moving house fire.  Pat, who serves on the board of the Sunland – Tujunga Neighborhood Council (STNC) for the City of Los Angeles, and the Neighborhood Council Alliance for Emergency Preparedness, had just completed a thorough emergency plan with her neighbors on what steps to take in the event of a disaster when  her neighbor’s house caught on fire on September 4, 2016.  Ms. Kramer credits her 5 Steps to Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness Plan, for helping save the family of ten during that fast-moving fire.

“By organizing a series of meetings where different neighbors knew the basic steps to take in a fire or earthquake, we all were better able to help the family; some of us helped during the fire, itself, while others helped provide shelter, food, clothing and other necessities to the family afterward,” states Pat.

Pat was recently interviewed by LA Cityview 35 with a neighbor who took video of the explosive fire, as seen on YouTube.

The fire, which started with a BBQ mishap, then ignited the propane gas tank which fueled the house fire, as well as a nearby storage shed that contained live ammo.

Says Pat, “You never know when you are going to need an Emergency Preparedness Plan, but if you have one written down and have shared it with your family and your neighbors, everyone will be better prepared for whatever may come. It will also help everyone proceed through the various steps in a calm and orderly fashion, avoiding chaos which can lead to further injuries or ham.”

She adds, “Since we originally started meeting, we’ve had a few pot luck dinners and gotten to know each other much better. It’s a nice way to get to know your neighbors and to share something that can enrich our lives.”

She recommends every one put together an individual, 3-day emergency supply kit for their car, and another large cache of food and supplies for their home with enough food and watch for 3 weeks (including pets’ food and water). Instructions on what is needed can be found on the City of L.A. Emergency Management Department’s website: 5 Steps to Neighborhood Preparedness, along with dates for upcoming CERT classes.

Ms. Kramer serves on STNC’s board as Region 1 (Sunland) rep and is on the Alliance for Neighborhood Preparedness and the Neighborhood Council Sustainability Alliance. She is also a member of her Neighborhood Watch and recently completed her second CERT (community emergency response team) training.

Pat Kramer, a longtime resident of Sunland – Tujunga is a full-time business, marketing and PR writer who writes content for company’s websites, ghostwrites articles for trade publications, and sets up social media profiles and blogs. For her latest post on emergency preparedness, go to: or visit: