December 18, 2023

Six City Employees Who Make the Holidays More Festive

These are a few of the City workers with special roles coordinating VB holiday programs and events.

Collage of City Employees

Every year thousands of citizens participate in events throughout Virginia Beach. The Holiday Parade, Holiday Lights at the Beach, the annual wreathmaking event and toy drives are among the season’s highly anticipated programs.

As with all the best holiday festivities, busy elves are at work behind the scenes to make the magic happen. These are a few of the employees who have a special role in making the holidays in Virginia Beach more festive.

Carlos Torrespablos

Carlos Torrespablos, Special Events Coordinator, Convention & Visitors Bureau

Serving as the liaison between event coordinators and City departments, Carlos coordinates key logistics of large festivals and events, including the Holiday Parade and Holiday Lights at the Beach. His role includes bringing in City agencies like Waste Management, Traffic Operations and public safety to ensure large-scale festivities run smoothly.

A self-proclaimed people-person, Carlos enjoys working with personnel in different City departments as logistics come together. “It’s very gratifying to be part of making an event successful,” he said.

Anna Lestik and Lynn Jacobs

Anna Lestik & Lynn Jacobs, Programming & Community Outreach/Teen Services Librarians, Libraries

During the holiday season, the Library’s Teen Advisory Groups host a toy drive for families in need. Anna and Lynn are two of the Teen Services Librarians who coordinate logistics behind the scenes so volunteers can focus on spreading the word and collecting donations.

Anna says a highlight of the annual drive is Libraries’ partnership with the City’s Human Services Department, whose caseworkers identify recipients for the toys. “The families are so appreciative. They can pick out toys that really interest their children,” she said.

In addition to helping families, the program creates a hands-on service opportunity for local teens. “These volunteers want to see something positive happen in their community,” Lynn said. “They can see with their eyes as toys pile up that something they are doing is making an impact.”

This year’s drive collected 600 donated toys.

Samuel Barclift

Samuel Barclift, Electrician, Public Works

For decades, Holiday Lights at the Beach has shined as a favorite event at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. Licensed electrician Samuel Barclift is on the small team of electrical workers tasked with keeping the lights on.

While a typical workday might find Samuel in a bucket truck fixing lights or in a manhole troubleshooting electrical issues, he says Holiday Lights at the Beach is a unique undertaking. That’s because the event spans more than 30 City blocks, and every sand dune with a light feature must be wired for electricity. The effort, he says, pays off when he sees how excited people are about the lights. “I think the public—and especially those from out of town—really enjoy it,” he said.

Mark Harvey

Mark Harvey, Grounds Crew Leader, Parks & Recreation

Throughout the year, Grounds Crew Leader Mark Harvey leads a team of landscape professionals in maintaining lawns and flower beds at the Municipal Center. Their responsibilities include mulching, edging, pruning trees and shrubberies, and planting seasonal flowers.

In addition to their regular duties, each December Mark and his team decorate the Municipal Center for the holidays. This includes attaching red bows to dozens of light poles and hanging 30+ handmade wreaths on the Courthouse and City buildings. Mark, who has been in this role for nine years, says he enjoys when the time comes to decorate. “I always look forward to this,” he said.

La Verne Grimstead

LaVerne Grimstead, Office Assistant, Parks & Recreation

Around two dozen employees in Parks & Recreation’s Landscape Services Division help coordinate the annual holiday wreathmaking event, which has been underway since the 1980s. LaVerne is a customer service expert who has served as the event’s hostess for more than a decade.

During the event, LaVerne enjoys providing hospitality and visiting with volunteers as they turn fresh clippings from local bushes and trees into stunning holiday decorations for municipal buildings. Asked if she has a favorite style of wreath, LaVerne said, “All of them are just beautiful and so creative. You can’t pick just one.”

This December is LaVerne’s last time attending the wreathmaking event as a City employee. She is retiring after working in Landscape Services for 44 years.

Your Best Job Yet Banner

Find YOUR best job yet at

Contact Information

Keep Reading

See All Posts