Saturday's Pasadena Latino Heritage Parade and Festival Celebrate a Rich Culture in Crucial Times

Published : Thursday, October 11, 2018 | 7:59 PM

City Councilmember Victor Gordo said this week that as an immigrant Latino, the 20th Annual Pasadena Latino Heritage Parade and Festival is very personal and important to him and his family.

“I’m proud of the fact that it is important to all of Pasadena because it’s an opportunity to think about, share and celebrate our diversity,” Gordo, who represents District 5, said of the Saturday event.

What About the Weather?
National Weather Service forecasters predicted Saturday will see scattered showers, mainly before noon. The estimated chance of some precipitation is 30%. The day is expected to be partly sunny, with a high near 74.

The City of Pasadena sponsored event will be led by Grand Marshal Donaly Marquez and will also feature several other grand marshals including singers Ted Perlman and Pablo El Gordo Lobo, radio show hosts El Terrible from 97.9 La Raza and Alex Mendoza from 96.7 La Ranchera, fashion designer Gina Ponce, comedian Joe El Cholo and more.

Latino Heritage Committee Member and Latino Employee Association President Robert Monzon said this year’s theme is far different than last year’s Latino military message.

“We’re actually recognizing the cast members of that movie ‘Coco,’” Monzon said of the parade that will begin at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Los Robles Avenue and Prescott Street and proceed south, ending at the Villa Parke’s Multi-Purpose Field.

Monzon said that actress Blanca Sotto and seven other cast members are expected to be in attendance.

The parade and following festival from noon to 4 p.m. at Villa Parke’s Multi-purpose Field, which will feature food, entertainment, art exhibits and community booths, is more than just an afternoon of fun. It’s about the progress the Latino community has made in Pasadena, according to Councilmember Gordo, who shared his personal history of being a paperboy, who lived in a garage, into today’s Councilmember and Rose Bowl Operating Company Board President.

“I was able to go to college and law school and then become a member of the City Council,” Gordo said. “The immigrant story for Latinos, like all other immigrants, is an important story for all the Pasadena.”

That story is particularly important given the present national rhetoric, according to Gordo, who said there are attacks on immigrants and immigrant families as well as a lack of recognition that Latinos are contributing members of society.

“I think it’s an opportunity for Pasadena to come out and celebrate that we recognize that the immigrant story is old and consistent, and that immigrants in our community are always welcome,” Gordo said.

“Living with a stigma because of who they are is not good for those individuals, and it’s not good for our society. We can’t ever allow in this country for people to be stigmatized simply because of who they are,” Gordo added.

The event represents the strength of the Latino community and the progress the culture has made in the U.S. and Pasadena, according to Armando Gonzalez, Principal Architect and Partner of Gonzalez Goodale Architects.

“There’s no doubt that there has been an exceptional contribution over time,” Gonzalez said of the art, entertainment, businesses and political Latino leaders throughout the community.

Calling himself a “behind-the-scenes” parade coordinator Fausto De La Torre said he is proud to be a Pasadena resident since 1979.

“I am Pasadenan for life,” De La Torre said, adding as a second generation Hispanic in Pasadena he has learned the love of community from his aunts and uncles, who have lived locally for years.

De La Torre, also known as the “king of the ring” at the Villa-Parke Community Center Boxing program, said the annual parade unites the community and offers Latinos a chance to share their rich heritage of music and food.

“It’s good that the city embraces the fact that there’s still a big community of Latinos here in Pasadena and they support these cultural events,” De La Torre said.

Local Latino business owner Alex Cortez agrees the annual event is more than just a procession. Cortez, owner of the El Patron Restaurant and volunteer at the Villa-Parke Community Center, said the parade is one example of the impact the Latino community has made in the Los Angeles area.

“Being here as a Latino in this country is great,” Cortez said.

The Parade steps off at 10 a.m. on Saturday at Washington Park, heads west to North Los Robles Avenue, then turns west again on Villa Street, culminating at Villa Parke’s Multi-Purpose Field.

Festival that follows is held from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. The festival will feature art exhibits, artisans, educational/historical displays, entertainment, food, community booths, and more.

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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