Car Show, Police and Fire Dept. Open House Expects to Draw Big Crowd Sunday

Cruz’n for Roses Car Show Chair Janet Benjamin and volunteers are putting final touches on 14th annual event scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 16, along Mission Street in South Pasadena. South Pasadena Police and Fire Departments gearing up for festive open house

PHOTO: City of South Pasadena |

Roadsters, classics, even a variety of newer vehicles in a category all its own, will be on display Sunday, Sept. 16, for the 14th annual Cruz’n for Roses Hot Rod and Classic Car Show along legendary Route 66 in South Pasadena.

Through company sponsorships and entry fees from participants, the free event traditionally raises funds for the city’s Rose Parade float entry, which is currently under construction in a giant tent in the 400 block of Fair Oaks Avenue behind the War Memorial Building. Organizers say the float – “Three Little Birds” – will cost about $100,000 and every last dollar is needed to complete the massive project.

“It’s not cheap to build one of these,” said Janet Benjamin, who helps runs a local insurance firm – Shaw, Moses, Mendenhall – but spends much of her time this time of year raising funds for the float as the chair of the Cruz’n for Roses event for the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee. “We’re always looking for the community’s support.”

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PHOTO: City of South Pasadena | | Funds from Sunday’s car show along Mission Street in South Pasadena will help defray the construction costs, including steel and flowers.

Come December, you’ll likely hear Benjamin’s name again as she also serves as the SPTOR’s decoration chair, putting a team of volunteers into action, painting the underbelly of the float before thousands of flowers cover it in the final days leading up to the New Year’s Day spectacle down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena.

Those entering their cars in the show will have an opportunity to win one some dozen trophy categories as judges will spend the morning hours in search of the best American customs, street rods, muscle cars and classics. For the second year, judging will also be open to newer vehicles – post 1975.

“We’ve discovered that we have a younger generation coming up who are proud of their newer cars,” explained Benjamin. “We thought it was very important that we form a category for ‘New Rides,’ so they can come out to the show and feel a part of it.”

Others in the process of overhauling their vehicle can enter the show in the new “Under Construction” category. “If they are putting their car together, making improvements, fixing it up, we’d like to see it in our show,” explained Benjamin. “It’s important to have a place where they can show their cars. It opened our eyes to another group we wanted to facilitate.”

What’s different about South Pasadena’s car show from others, insists Benjamin, is the amount of people it draws each year. Anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 are expected to descend upon South Pasadena’s Mission Street on Sunday to take in the beauty of some 200 vehicles on display.

“The show is something we’re really proud of,” explained Janet Benjamin. “We want everyone to be a part of the show and have a good time. Not only is it a fundraiser for our city float, but it’s a great way for the community to get together.”

Benjamin stressed that a big part of coming to South Pasadena and being a part of the city’s well-preserved Norman Rockwell setting is a major draw for many. “It brings back nostalgic memories for a lot of people,” she said. “With our storefronts, tree-lined streets, Route 66, we have the ideal place for a car show.”

Classic car show participants make a $30 contribution to the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses to show their vehicles, with fees set at $40 on the day of the event.

Benjamin says the popularity of South Pasadena’s event is that entrants know they’re lending a hand to the success of the city’s float. “When they make a contribution of $30 or $40 to show their car, they know that the money is going toward paying for steel or flowers for our entry in the Rose Parade,” she explained. “When they watch the parade go down Colorado Blvd. they can say, ‘Hey, my money went to build that float, or pay for the flowers.’ They can take pride in the fact they helped, and feel good about it.’”

PHOTO: Cruz’n For Roses | | Classic cars like the one above will be on display during Sunday’s Cruz’n for Roses Classic Car Show.

South Pasadena Police and Fire Department Open House

In addition to the car show, the South Pasadena police and fire departments will stage their annual Open House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1422 Mission Street. The free event will feature safety information, vendor displays, giveaways, a demonstration involving police canines, fire officials putting simulated fires, and tours of both the police and fire departments.

The family outing will also allow kids to jump in the seat of police cars, climb aboard a fire engine and view a helicopter from ground level.

There will be information about emergency preparedness, alarms, crime prevention and fire safety tips. Helicopter landings, station tours, police and fire demos will also be a part of the event.

A line-up of famous cars, some of which include “Herbie the Love Bug,” the “Dukes of Hazzard,” a DeLorean from “Back to the Future” and Austin Powers’ “Shaguar” will be parked in front of the South Pasadena Police Department as part of the open house.

“Especially with the open house, it’s a great day for the family,” stressed Benjamin. “It makes for a fun day for everyone.”


10:00 AM Opening Ceremonies, includes a fly-over by LA City Fire Department

10:05 AM First Helicopter Landing (LA City Fire Department),
departs at 11:25 AM*

11:00 AM Emergency Preparedness Puppet Show, performed by the
American Red Cross in the fire station apparatus floor.

11:30 AM Second Helicopter Landing (San Bernardino County Fire/ REACH Air Medical), departs at 1:25 PM*

12:00 PM South Pasadena Police Department Demo
(Performed at rear of fire station)

12:30 PM South Pasadena Fire Department Demo
(Performed at rear of fire station)

1:00 PM Emergency Preparedness Puppet Show, performed by the
American Red Cross in the fire station apparatus floor.

1:30 PM Third Helicopter Landing (Pasadena Police Department), departs at 3 PM*

3:00 PM Closing of Open House

*Times are approximate and helicopters are subject to call.

Emergency Preparedness hands-on demonstrations continuous throughout the day at the fire station Police Station Tours, continuous throughout the day.

PHOTO: City of South Pasadena |