After a two-year hiatus, festivities and more will be robust as organizers are planning activities ahead of and, of course, on the 4th of July with a parade down Mission Street, activities in Garfield Park and fireworks show at South Pasadena High School.
With the COVID-19 pandemic putting the brakes on the town’s Independence Day spectacle in 2020 and 2021, Mayor Michael Cacciotti wants to ensure that something extra special is added to the excitement of the holiday in 2022.
“It has been a long time since we held the parade and fireworks show, and so I thought it was important for our city to come up with some additional entertainment as part what is already a great day in South Pasadena,” said Cacciotti. “I want to make it even greater for our residents and visitors after we’ve had to delay it the last couple of years.”
A team of volunteers, many serving on the committee 20-plus years, continues to meet monthly on what has become known as the “Festival of Balloons” in town. In some form or another, the parade and fireworks show have been around since 1982.
“The Festival of Balloons is unlike any parade around,” said Cacciotti, who plans to walk outside his vehicle and wave to the masses lining the streets. “The committee that puts it on is a well oiled machine, and they do everything to make sure it’s a fun, festive day, starting with a pancake breakfast from dawn to dusk, ending with fireworks.”
Starting a 7 a.m., members of the Kiwanis Club will be serving flapjacks at the South Pasadena Fire Station on Mound Avenue (adjacent City Hall) to kick off the day. Opening ceremonies for the parade will follow on the footsteps of the South Pasadena Library Community Room at 10:30 a.m. Bands, youth sports, local organizations, some providing zany fun, and more will highlight the parade at 11 a.m., setting the stage for games for kids and food available at Garfield Park before fireworks fill the sky from the SPHS stadium when the sun goes down, roughly 9 p.m.
New this year, inspired by a visit by Cacciotti to the Museum of the American Revolution in Philadelphia last summer, will be a free patriotic theatrical presentation on July 3 at South Pasadena High School. With support from Jim and Lissa Reynolds, who own the nearby Fremont Center Theatre, eight actors will give live performances.
“The Reynolds have agreed to research and produce the program which includes writing the script, casting the actors, and coordinating the stage production,” reads a city staff report. “Art, literature, poetry and live performances celebrating the diversity of cultures in America will be portrayed.”
A proposed budget from the Reynolds, along the use of the high school auditorium, district staffing costs, advertising and miscellaneous expenses total $6,798.
As part of the expanded programming, the South Pasadena Public Library will develop Independence Day “themed book displays and reading lists, host a book discussion of David M. Rubenstein’s ‘The American Experiment: Dialogues on a Dream,’ and have a Summer Reading Program Wonderful Wednesdays Family program offering Independence-themed arts and crafts,” according to the city report.
Cacciotti joins the public in welcoming what’s anticipated to be another festive Festival of Balloons in the city he oversees.
“I know our residents have missed this hometown Fourth of July parade and everything that goes with if for the past two years,” said the mayor. “The organizing committee, along with the city, the library, Jim and Lissa Reynolds and others are bringing back a wonderful celebration this year. We know patriotism will be on display in a major way as we finally come together after two long years to celebrate the birth of our nation.”
While there is no charge for the theatrical presentation at the local high school, donations will be accepted to help fund future Fourth of July presentations in the city. Reservations, made through the South Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, are required for the show. The chamber will soon be providing information on how to receive tickets, the organization’s president/CEO, Laurie Wheeler, saying: “Save the date.”
Look for additional information regarding tickets in the South Pasadenan as the event gets closer.
Have an entry you’d like to put in South Pasadena’s Fourth of July Festival of Balloons parade? Simply contact Joe Payne, a committee member at firstname.lastname@example.org. Presale fireworks tickets, set at $11 ($13 on night of event), will soon be sold at a variety of locations throughout the city.