South Pasadena has a longstanding tradition of daylong celebration on Independence Day. Part of the advantage in living in South Pasadena is the true small town feel around special events and holidays. The perfect example is the ‘Festival of Balloons’ 4th of July celebrations. 2017 will mark the 34th annual Festival of Balloons on the 4th.
The day kicks off with the traditional pancake breakfast held at the South Pasadena Fire Station from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Tickets for the pancake breakfast are just $7 per person and children under 6 years old are admitted free.
Next up is the truly endearing and unique 4th of July Parade. The parade generally starts from the South Pasadena Library around 11:00 am and continues down Mission Street past the center of town. In the past we’ve seen everything from the local South Pasadena police and fire department equipment – including motorcycles, squad cars, fire trucks and more – all with the sirens and lights blazing as they slowly wander down Mission Street towards Garfield Park. Other common sights in the parade are a plethora of antique cars from both the local and surrounding communities. Of course we all get a healthy dose of the local politicians who ride with aplomb down Mission street – often in convertibles to better wave to the crowd. Nearly every South Pasadena resident has the opportunity to walk in the parade if they so choose – as groups and clubs of every variety participate.
In the afternoon there are games, food, activities and music at Garfield Park from around noon-4:00 pm. It is usually great weather on the 4th of July to enjoy a fun day at the park.
The grand finale to the day are the fireworks. For a relatively small town, South Pasadena has a tradition of amazing fireworks set off at the South Pasadena High School athletic fields beginning whenever the sun has fully set (usually around 9:00 pm). A number of fundraising events throughout the year combined with the admission fees each year are simply re-invested in the next year’s fireworks show. Tickets for the fireworks are $12 per person at the gate. There are also pockets of viewers who set up anywhere near the high school on the sidewalk with lawn chairs to view the spectacle as well.
The author with State Senator Anthony Portantino
Being so closely located to the Rose Bowl, Dodger Stadium and other surrounding communities it is a breeze to view other local firework shows as well. Without even leaving South Pasadena one can see a number of fireworks displays. Of course the Rose Bowl or Dodger Stadium are just a short drive away and hold massive fireworks displays every 4th of July.
Stay safe, enjoy the day and remember to secure your pets – as fireworks can disorient and frighten animals.