The downtown lights of Los Angeles sparkled in festive cheer as guests gathered at the Downtown Athletic Club for the 2023 LAFRA Holiday Dinner Dance. This year, everyone came decked out in their finest, ready for a good time. The beautifully decorated ballroom welcomed attendees with a trio of friendly volunteers at the registration desk. Unlike last year’s rain and cold, this time, the weather was perfect, adding to the overall vibe of the evening. Plus, it marked the 117th year of The Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday, all were warmly embraced. The intimate charm of the venue set the stage for an evening filled with live music, great food, good company, and, of course, dancing.
The festivities kicked off with an open bar serving up cocktails and plenty of hors d’oeuvres. A photo booth was set up by Perfect Pix Photobooth, adding a fun touch, and a big shoutout to Jesse and Jill Anderson for providing such a cool service for the evening.
DW3, the star band of the night, graciously agreed to come back after last year’s hit performance. People loved them then, and they didn’t disappoint this year either. From start to finish, they brought a welcoming vibe, mixing high energy with soothing melodies that perfectly matched the celebration’s mood.
Relief Association President Chris Stine and his wife, Lauren, made quite an entrance. Lauren glowed in a fantastic green gown while Chris, holding his own in a sharp suit and tie, shared some opening remarks. The president kicked off the formal part of the evening, thanking the band and giving a big shoutout to Juliet Brandolino, the mastermind behind tonight’s event. Every year, she pours her heart into making sure everything runs smoothly, and this year was no different. Thanks, Jules, for making it such a fantastic evening. Chris also introduced Vice President, Jim Duffy, and all the Trustees present, giving a nod to the strong showing from the Relief and their respective battalions. He acknowledged reps from UFLAC, the Chief Officer’s Association, and LAPFRA for backing the Relief Association and the event.
Wrapping up, Chris gave a big thank you to the LAFD widows in attendance, recognizing their sacrifice and ongoing support of the LAFD and Relief Association.
Dinner was served, followed by some delicious desserts. Some folks headed up to the hotel rooftop for a stunning view of downtown LA, all lit up. Others kept grooving to the band, who played non-stop. As plates were cleared, the music turned up, and soon, the dance floor was the place to be. With standing room only, everyone gathered in the center, dancing away the rest of the evening.
Thanks to everyone who made this year’s event awesome. Special props to Juliet Brandolino for putting together such a fantastic program. Big thanks to Deborah Lew for capturing those great photos, and a heartfelt shoutout to all the volunteers, especially Rose, Kimmie and Jo, who pitched in to help the Relief Association. We hope to see you all next year for another night of good food, great dancing, and lots of fun. From all of us at the Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association, warm wishes for a happy New Year, and here’s to another year of serving our esteemed members with dedication.
By John Hicks
Photos by Deborah Lew