Story by Aanji Sin
Photos by Tony Chen and Oscar Walsh
Residents of South Pasadena celebrated Independence Day with the annual Fourth of July Festival of Balloons on Wednesday, July 4th. Throughout the day, participants enjoyed food and games held at Garfield Park and gathered at South Pasadena High School later that night to watch the firework show.
The Kiwanis Club Pancake Breakfast at the South Pasadena Fire Station kicked off the festivities. All proceeds from the sales went towards the Kiwanis Club service account, which regularly makes contributions to the school district, such as providing scholarships for graduating SPHS seniors.
One of the most popular events of the day was the parade which ran down Mission Street from Diamond Avenue to Garfield Park. Residents set up chairs and tents along the street to watch the parade pass by. The parade had a lineup of 60 entries, from Boy Scout Troop 139 to the South Pasadena D.U.D.E.S (Dads Uniting Dads in Education and Service). Council members drove past in classic cars and members of the Arroyo Seco Stables rode through the streets on horses.
More festivities were underway at Garfield Park. Some residents lounged in the park with their dogs while children participated in activities such as a sack race and a water balloon toss. Local organizations and clubs such as the South Pasadena Chinese Club sold food. The SPHS band also performed, led by Mr. Crawford.
To end the day, citizens gathered on the SPHS’ Roosevelt football field to watch the annual firework show. The local band “Mainstream” provided entertainment while residents waited for the fireworks to begin. The group performed a range of songs, from 60s and 70s classics like “Want You Back” by the Jackson 5 and “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge, to contemporary pop songs like “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke. The SPHS wrestling team sold hamburgers and hotdogs, and the cross country team held a carnival game booth.
“This was my first year watching the fireworks, and it really exceeded my expectations.” said junior Shayan Gerami. “I was just hanging out with my friends and having a good time, and it’s a really great way to bring the community together for this holiday.”