Every 4th of July about 7pm, families start piling out of their cars along Oak and Rollin Street with their picnic blankets and chairs and start walking over to the football stadium at South Pasadena High School. On the way, there are always yard parties happening along the adjacent streets and the atmosphere is decidedly festive with the smell of barbecue filling the air.
South Pasadenans make their way through the gate, having either purchased their tickets in town during the week or buying them at the door. South Pasadenan’s finest, our dedicated SPPD, are always on hand, working to make sure it’s a safe evening while clearly enjoying the festivities themselves. It’s a fun night. Kids running around the track and field, blankets full of friends, family, loved ones; all gathered to celebrate our country and our tight knit community.
The program began with Joe Payne announcing the parade winners for 2017. The Neighborhood Award went to the South Pasadena/SanMarino YMCA and their spirited dancers. The Commercial Award went to Charlie’s Coffeehouse and their darling float. Best Marching Entry went to The Minutemen led by Howard Crawford. Best Classic Car went to John Chichester and his 1928 Model A. Best Motorized Award went to AYSO Region 214 and their always awesome tractor trailer full of soccer players, balloons and the giant soccer balls rolling down the parade route. The Judges Award went to those crazy and lovable DUDES with their fun dance routine to “South Pasadena Dudes”. Best Use of Balloons this year went to the intrepid Citizens United/No on 710 Freeway Fighters whose red, white & blue balloon hats were everywhere! And finally, the Best Use of Theme went to Joe and Joy Wilson and their 1931 Model A Sedan.
Young Women from Holy Family Church sang patriotic and inspirational songs like This Land Is Your Land, Raise Me Up and America The Beautiful. By then it was after 9pm and the skies were dark. The lights are suddenly turned off, the crowd goes wild and the pyrotechnics begin. South Pasadena always does a fantastic job and this year was no exception; the fireworks dazzled all in attendance. Unfortunately, for the first time in memory, the sound system had issues and the music did cut out a few times. It was a bit of a shame as the music is always great and perfectly timed to the fireworks. But South Pasadenans, being who they are, didn’t let it dampen their spirits and plenty of oohs and ahhs could be heard as they admired the fireworks for their dramatic and simple beauty. They were pretty spectacular. I always find the filing out of the stands and field to be a sweet moment; as the crowd bottlenecks at the gate, you always run into people you know and you have a friendly chat as everyone patiently waits to make their way out. And then they’re off into the night, families scurry home with little ones as the teenagers run off to Hi-Life or a friend’s house to continue the day’s revelry.
Another South Pasadena 4th of July in the books!