Celebrate in Cowpoke Finery When History Museum Ropes In Pasadena's 133rd Birthday Party

Western-Themed Shindig to be held Sunday, June 30

Published : Wednesday, June 12, 2019 | 4:55 AM

A street scene from Colorado Boulevard circa 1880 is shown, with the logo for Pasadena's upcoming 133rd birthday event. Courtesy images

The City of Pasadena will celebrate its 133rd birthday in Western style, complete with the Wells Fargo Stagecoach, some roping tricks and even panning for gold. The party will be held Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Yahoo!! Happy Birthday Pasadena! will feature western entertainers and activities.

Brad McNeil, director of education and public programming for the Pasadena History Museum, said he’s “pushing two decades” of helming the birthday celebrations and each year tops the one before.

“This birthday is going to be wonderful, it’s being held in conjunction with our current exhibition called ‘Giddy Up: Children Take The Reins,’” said McNeil. “It’s a magical exhibition with antique carousel animals and there are a lot of horses.”


Among the most memorable birthday party celebrations was that of last year said Jeannette O’Malley, executive director for the museum. The theme last year was science fiction.

“It’s a totally memorable event,” O’Malley said. “We celebrated the birthday and also the 200th birthday of Frankenstein’s monster, so we had Frankenstein leading everyone in ‘Happy Birthday’ in costume and the mayor invited him to cut the cake. It was so fabulous.”

In general, the birthday party is a chance to visit the museum.

“With today’s outreach and media you can reach audiences of all ages,” O’Malley said. “It’s a fun day for people to enjoy the museum and the grounds.”

This year, the western theme will have some creative aspects. On hand will be antique carousel horses, and opportunity to learn a thing or two.

“With our western theme we’re turning the gardens into a wonderland,” McNeil said. “We’re having the Wells Fargo Stagecoach coming and we’re working with wonderful western entertainers.”

In addition to a world champion lady trick roper, people will learn how to line dance and they will learn how to rope a calf,” McNeil said. The imagination plays a role in the festivities as there won’t be horses pulling the Stagecoach, there won’t be any real baby calves to rope.

“Also among the activities will be gold panning and a crafts workshop where kids of all ages can make cowboy hats,” McNeil said. “We will have the crown city chorus singing western songs, and then of course the big event is that Mayor Tornek will be on hand to cut the birthday cake.”

The birthday cake is made by Baja Markets so there will be free birthday cake for everybody.

“It’s a wonderful event and we’re happy for the level of sponsorship so that it’s a free event for everyone,” O’Malley said. “The birthday parties have grown in size and so has the sponsorship along with that. We rely heavily on our fellow non profit partners.”

O’Malley also credited the work of her staff and particularly the efforts of McNeil.

Each year McNeil reaches for the ideas and he usually gets what is needed for a great event.

“You pick up the phone and ask,” McNeil said. “On this one I called the Wells Fargo Museum in Los Angeles. They said you need to talk to one of the local banks.”

An agreement was reached and the Stagecoach was promised. But not being pulled by horses but instead on a flatbed truck.

Like Pasadena, the birthday parties seem to get better with age.

“It’s a matter of trying to figure out ‘What can we do to make this a good birthday party?’ McNeil said. “And people are pretty cooperative. It’s a great city.”

Yahoo!! Happy Birthday Pasadena! Will be held on Sunday, June 30 at The Pasadena Museum of History, 470 W. Walnut St., Pasadena.

For more information call (626) 577-1660 or click here.

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