It’s one of the most difficult tasks the South Pasadena City Council faces this time of year.
When given the amount of choices, selecting the top three winners in the Festival Balloons’ (FOB) poster contest, admittedly, is not easy.
After the council deliberated recently as part of a regularly scheduled meeting at City Hall, FOB Chair Sam Hernandez and Past Chair Joe Payne were on hand to announce the first, second and third place finishers.
“We are so appreciative of the great work from these young students,” said Hernandez. “You can tell, they put a lot of time into it.”
Added Payne: “It’s amazing how these kids come up with wonderful entries year after year after given the theme. Their artwork is just outstanding.”
Fifth grade students from South Pasadena’s three public elementary schools and Holy Family School created posters around the 2022 Festival of Balloons’ theme of “Struggle for Freedom, America’s Journey to Independence.”
It was partly inspired by a vacation trip South Pasadena Mayor Michael Cacciotti took last summer when he visited the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia.
“Our 4th of July theme is about all those involved in the roots for America, including African Americans, Latinos, Whites, Asians, French Americans, Spanish Americans, Native Americans, Armenian Americans, Italian-Americans and many other nationalities that were here,” explained Cacciotti. “It’s a continuing journey for independence for all of us, and it’s great to celebrate it.”
New this year, the South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC) assisted the Fourth of July Committee by placing the posters along the city’s 4th of July parade route. Among those helping in the effort were SPARC Founder Lissa Reynolds, Board President Sandy Kitto, and the organization’s council members Tracy McCrum, Bianca Richards, and Ron Koertge.
Over the years, Joe and Joan Payne, the latter another longtime committee member, have taken on the role of putting the posters in their proper place. Having SPARC on board has been what Joe Payne calls a “real shot in the arm,” noting: “They’re artistic eye and reach in our community, and the diversity of their board of directors broadens the inclusion of wide participation being sought by the Festival of Balloons committee.”
After carefully analyzing the posters, the City Council selected Holy Family student Adeline Porter as the poster contest winner. In second, was Grace Chen from Marengo while Leiah Kim from Arroyo Vista grabbed the third spot.
All three will be recognized at the 4th of July Festival of Balloons’ opening ceremony on the footsteps of the South Pasadena Library Community Room starting at 10:30 a.m. They will also be asked to ride in the parade at noon, and receive tickets to watch the fireworks show around 9 p.m. with their families at South Pasadena High School.