Hundreds and Hundreds of Reasons You Should Enjoy the Latino Heritage Parade Saturday

Great food and music, jumping cars and prancing horses -- certainly! But there’s also the cutest kids

Published : Friday, October 18, 2019 | 4:46 AM

Last year it was gray and damp and this year is forecast to be cloudless and about 80 degrees. But enjoying the great weekend is least of a gaggle of great reasons to witness Pasadena’s Latino Heritage Parade 2019 up-close-and-personal.

There will be music, food, dances folkloricos, Yankuitil Aztec dancers, a singing sibling quartet of girls known as Hermanas Esparazas, proud caballeros atop bedecked prancing stallions, cars that jump up off the pavement, and hundreds upon hundreds of adorable children.

“The parade is an opportunity to reflect, not only on Latinos, but on the beautiful diversity that makes up and has built a great city,” said Councilmember Victor Gordo. “I invite people to come out to the parade and celebrate Pasadena’s rich diversity and Latino culture.”

So if good weather isn’t reason enough to see what’s stomping southward on Los Robles Avenue this Saturday, now you have an endorsement from the only Latino currently sitting on the Pasadena City Council and bona fide mayoral candidate.

“That means a day of fun,” said Yuny Parada of the Pasadena Latino Forum. “You know, a day of recognition that we are here. I like one day out of 365 days. One day is fine and I always participate and enjoy it thoroughly.”

Then there’s the history of the thing. Roberta H. Martínez, a writer and historian was instrumental in the parade’s launch.

Martínez  explained how she had attended an Irish parade years ago and thought there might be a goodly number of people who would, “have an interest in learning about Latino experiences and culture and history as there were for learning about Irish things.”

The sentiment was reinforced by the fact that Pasadena is, “a city of all these different parades —at the time there was a Rosebud parade, which was an offshoot of Kidspace and Doo-dah etcetera, etcetera — so it made sense to have a Latino history parade.”

For the first 15 years, she explained, the event was an all-volunteer organization, “made up of community members like myself who were giving of their time to make sure that we would organize the parade so that it had some education benefit.”

There was opposition to the parade at the outset, said Martínez, which was financed by volunteer fundraising efforts.

“As we came into our 14th year, after pushing and shoving and working with others, I was wanting to step away,” she explained, “And the City took things from there.”

Today the City’s Human Services and Recreation Department takes the lead in working together with community activists and the Latino Heritage Committee to make it all happen.

So another reason to go see the parade is because it didn’t just happen. It was built through love and hardwork.

The kings of cumbia, Sonora Dinamita, will step up to cap things off. Some version of the orquestra Colombian (or other) has been yanking audiences from their seats since 1960.

This year’s Grand Marshal will be the first Latina Tournament of Roses President, Laura Farber, a Buenos Aires, Argentina-born, transplanted Californian. Farber is a graduate of UCLA and Georgetown University Law School.

The post of Community Grand Marshal will belong to Dr. Cynthia Olivo, a third-generation Chicana who got her Ph.D. in education at Claremont Graduate University. Her work involves advocacy for minority, low-income and first-generation college students and her day job is as Pasadena City College’s vice president of Student Services.

The Parade begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday October 19, 2019 at Washington Park, heads west to North Los Robles Avenue where it right-angles south, then turns west again on Villa Street, culminating at Villa Parke’s Multi-Purpose Field.

The Festival will follow from 12:00 pm. to 4:00 p.m. at 363 E. Villa Street.

For more information on the Pasadena Latino Heritage Parade and Festival, call the Villa-Parke Community Center at (626) 744-6530.


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