Written by Joe Payne, Past Chair, Current Vice Chair of the Festival of Balloons
Although the last two years have been lost to the COVID pandemic, we are confident the worst is behind us and we can again safely celebrate our nation’s independence in South Pasadena.
The theme for this year’s Festival of Balloons is “Our Struggle for Freedom; America’s Journey to Independence.”
An email was sent to prospective parade participants for the 2022 return of the Festival of Balloons Fourth of July celebration and I’m proud to say, the response has been nothing short of overwhelming.
First of all, the Festival of Balloons is proud to welcome the inclusion of Sam Hernandez as chairman of the committee. A longtime civic volunteer, Sam has the energy and enthusiasm to lead the committee and to seek out new volunteers for the group that has members who have served the committee for decades.
Also new to the committee is the South Pasadena Arts Council (SPARC) and council president Sandy Kitto, agreeing to chair the poster subcommittee. This grew out of a brief encounter with Lissa Reynolds from the Fremont Centre Theater and founding SPARC member in 2019 as the City Council members selected the poster winners. The posters line the parade route on Mission St. When the posters go up in early June, it marks the unofficial start of the Independence Day celebration.
New to this year’s Festival of Balloons is a theatrical performance entitled “We, Too, Are America,” presented by Jim and Lissa Reynolds at the high school auditorium on July 3, a 6:30 p.m.. Envisioned by Mayor Michael Cacciotti, Jim and Lissa volunteered to write, produce, and perform a tribute to America’s Journey to Independence. Mayor Cacciotti was inspired by a visit to Pennsylvania over last summer and wanted to reenergize the Festival of Balloons with an anticipated return from the pandemic.
Happy Fourth of July, South Pasadena! It’s good to be back!