Marty Coleman will Lead the 40th Pasadena Doo Dah Parade as Grand Marshal

Published : Thursday, November 2, 2017 | 11:14 AM

Marty Coleman. Photo credit Julie Klima Casey

This year’s parade organizers selected a Grand Marshal who is revered by many in the greater Pasadena community. 86 year-old Marty Coleman will lead the unique event down Colorado Boulevard in East Pasadena as it celebrates another benchmark year. The Parade is proud to honor 86 year-old Coleman, whose legacy of social activism has inspired so many others to follow in her path.

Years ago, Marty Coleman was a well-heeled housewife who enjoyed carefree living in the hills of La Cañada Flintridge. After her husband died in 1979 she felt she had to find a new purpose in her life. A change came when she was invited to a talk at her church about nuclear weapons.

“I was, actually, mortified that I was the only one who didn’t know what was going on in the world,” admits Coleman.

She soon embarked on a journey of learning and influencing others that continues to this day. She became the outreach director for the Inter-Faith Center at All Saints Church. In this post, she traveled all over Los Angeles sharing views with those of every religion about the dangers of the arms race.

Coleman’s work with the center even aroused the attention of Europeans. That’s when she joined a group promoting Enduring Peace with international activists. Together, they decided to get a boat and go from Odessa, Soviet Union, traveling from village-to-village, sharing views with the locals. The delegation was even invited to the Kremlin and Marty personally spoke to Gorbachev about their cause.

Back home, Coleman served on staff for the Peace & Justice Ministry and launched “Sustainable World” dedicated to achieving social justice on many fronts. She also founded “Conscientious Projector,” which uses documentary film as a platform to discuss relevant issues. It’s been going strong for fifteen years in Pasadena.

“I want to live to be 105 years old,” she says, “because I have that much more work to do. In this era of unusual crises in politics, it’s become even more important that we respond with resilience and passion in our community.”

Why Doo Dah?

“The Parade has a reputation of being risque’ and terribly funny — a lampoon on more corporate parades. I think it’s a wonderful place to build camaraderie among people in a year of arguments and disagreements,” asserts this year’s Grand Marshal. “I’m honored and excited to have a jolly good time with my fellow community members and help pass the torch to the next generations.”

Known as the twisted sister of the conventional Rose Parade, the Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade began as a grassroots event in 1978 to gain national attention for its eccentric and, often, irreverent satire. The parade which has spawned numerous off-beat replicants across the country was even highlighted in last year’s Wall Street Journal.

The Pasadena Doo Dah Parade also named by Readers Digest as “America’s Best Parade,” and was recently featured in the book 50 Places You Must Visit Before You Die, and even the Wall Street Journal. To recount the fascinating and convoluted history of Pasadena Doo Dah Parade, please visit its website’s Archives page.

The 40th Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade will be held on Sunday, November 19th, stepping off at 11:00 a.m. on the streets of East Pasadena. To enter the parade simply go to the website and get the entry form. Call for more information on How to Enter at (626) 590-1134. Public Information Number: (626) 590-7596.

Entry Forms and further information to be found on the website: or visit

The Pasadena Doo Dah Parade is owned and produced by Light Bringer Project, a nonprofit arts organization based in Pasadena.






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