It was Verrado’s first Founder’s Day weekend. The B-52’s were here and I was nervous about introducing the “world’s greatest party band.” That was the only year we placed the stage on Verrado Way, and it was exhilarating to see so many beehives and go-go boots dancing on Main Street. Our small town was filled with laughter, music, and fun. Of course the music was phenomenal and the friendship was abundant; a solid recipe for Founder’s Day success. But everything felt extra-special because that year was our first year, and our boys were so little, and Shelly’s mom had come out for the party. There we were, three generations, dancing on Main St.
Wow, what a moment it was.
As fond as I am of that memory, I wouldn’t necessarily label it my “favorite” Founder’s Day moment. Indeed, my list of fun and special Founder’s Day moments is rich and deep. It cannot be prioritized, but it can be shared. So, as I reflect on magic of our community and its 10-year anniversary, I offer these memories (in no particular order) of some very special times.
1. Brandon Webb pitches to Megan Malobicky
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher and 2006 Cy Young Award Winner was here to help us welcome Train to the stage. He also threw out the first pitch at our community softball tournament the next day. I had the honor of introducing Brandon and the responsibility of choosing a volunteer to serve as catcher to his pitch. I scanned the crowd and quickly spotted the perfect little candidate. Megan Malobicky walked confidently behind home plate and, of course, I couldn’t have asked for a better photo opp. The whole thing was adorable, so it’s a favorite memory of mine, but it gets better. That was Megan’s first Founder’s Day and little did I know that they live one block from us. Megan now plays first base for Verrado High School and the Malobicky’s are close family friends. The whole thing was Very Verrado.
2. John Popper Rocks
I’m a big fan, so for me, Blues Traveler was one of the best musical talents Verrado has ever seen. They rocked the Village Green for close to 3 hours – what a party that was!
3. Beautiful Cocktail Parties in “Community Backyard”
Each and every visit to The Raven leaves me marveling that such beauty is in my own backyard. The golf course, the mountains, and the luxury lifestyle within walking distance from my house. That blows me away every time. Every Cocktail Party has been an enchanting reunion of friends and a fancy celebration of community.
4. Bow down to the Beach Boys
Having grown up surfing Malibu Beach, meeting and introducing the legendary Beach Boys was the thrill of a lifetime. I recall jammin’ to their tunes as a child, so that was so much fun and a great honor.
5. Community Photo Chaos
In the early days, it didn’t take much effort to take our community photo at the Community Picnic. Jaime Lyn Gonzalez would simply nudge the crowd into submission and we’d all smile for the camera. As our community grows, so does the effort it takes to corral everyone into one frame. I like to stand on the south side of the frame and take in the beautiful process of herding cats. The process takes more coordination and patience now, but it’s worth it.
6. Legacy Bricks
My family and I have multiple bricks in Founder’s Park. The revealing of the each year’s additions is not only a fantastic moment of the weekend, but it also amazing to think that they’ll be there forever! With each personalized memorial comes an ever-lasting mark on our community, just as each of our founding families has done. Simply a great tradition!
7. Andy Grammer is About as Very Verrado as it Gets
Andy Grammer’s concert felt like it was tailor-made for Verrado. He was remarkably personable and genuinely excited to be here. All of the Founder’s Day bands make special note of our community’s charm, but Andy Grammer took it to a whole new level. He appealed like no other to our tween/teen residents, took a mid-show, on-stage selfie with his most adoring fans, and was our only Founder’s Day guest ever to flock to the Village Green for post-show autographs.
Train was without question Verrado’s largest production ever – big stage, bigger light show, and an even bigger voice. They were simply phenomenal. It’s hard to believe that such a big-time band played in Verrado. But they did. And we all loved it!
9. Verrado Moms – Respect
Our first resident variety show (back then we hosted it on a tiny stage in Founder’s Park) brought one of the most charming things I’ve ever seen – Verrado Moms, all donning bright pink boas, getting their grove on to Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T! So much fun!
10. Jax and Sloane
Last year we created a wonderful new addition to the community picnic on Sunday – a dog show! You can imagine how proud I was when our dog, Jax, and his best friend and our neighbor Sloane Buckley won the best dressed contest in their adorable Girl Scout costumes. The Buckley’s are the best neighbors anyone could possibly ask for. It was so rewarding for us to see them take home the prize!
By Todd Hornback, Executive Director of Community Life at DMB Associates