Vice Mayor John Kennedy Readies for First Official Participation in Rose Parade

Councilmember and his prominent sister, Lena Kennedy, will ride with Mayor Tornek

Published : Sunday, December 30, 2018 | 6:15 AM

Lena L. Kennedy, Founder and Director of Southern California Women’s Health Conference and Expo, with Pasadena Vice Mayor John Kennedy. Image courtesy L.A. City Council President Herb Wesson via Twitter

Pasadena Vice Mayor John Kennedy’s last participation in the Rose Parade involved surreptitiously peeling flowers off the floats – not exactly an official task sanctioned by the Tournament of Roses.

“I was a little boy and under the age of 10, and I didn’t know any better at that time,” Kennedy said in an interview with Pasadena Now Friday.

Now, decades later, the Pasadena native will participate officially by riding in the 2019 Parade with Mayor Terry Tornek and Kennedy’s sister, Lena Kennedy, a longtime Pasadena activist.

“My sister Lena Louise Kennedy,” said Kennedy, “is my honored guest. She is one of the vice chairs of the Democratic Party nationally, and an Obama appointee to the John F. Kennedy Center Board. I thought it would be fitting for such a person of that stature to join me. I’m glad that she accepted the invitation from the Mayor and me to join us in the parade.”

Lena Kennedy is known locally for founding and leading the Southern California Women’s Health Conference and Expo, which brings together community-based organizations, businesses, and civic leaders to offer a free, annual health and wellness conference for women.

A grateful Vice Mayor expressed his thanks to the City Council for having voted him Vice Mayor on two separate occasions. He will be succeeded in May by Councilmember Tyron Hampton.

“That is certainly an honor in and of itself,” Kennedy said. “And then, to be a part of the Rose Parade, and what it represents in terms of moving towards complete diversity, is a real plus for me.”

“This is a very festive time for Pasadena and the region, so there will be lots of activity for our visitors to participate in, for those who are attending the Rose Bowl game, and of all the activities surrounding the parade and the parade shortly thereafter.”

Kennedy added, “Everyone from the region can come and view the various floats that appeared in the parade, and that has been a tradition of longstanding and will continue this year. But again, I just want to say that this is a very important occasion in my tenure of public service in the city of Pasadena.”

The iconic and historic Rose Parade will begin at 8 a.m. on January 1, 2019. The parade will move 5 ½ miles down Colorado Blvd. featuring four types of entries—floral-decorated floats entered by a participating corporation, non-profit organization or municipality; equestrian units; bands, and Tournament Entries.
The earliest Tournament of Roses event, a parade filled with horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers, was staged in front of 3,000 spectators. More than a century later, the parade floats utilize of state-of-the-art technology, all tucked away beneath thousands of flowers.
In addition, each year, more than 80,000 hours of combined service are supplied by 935 volunteer members of the Tournament of Roses Association. Nicknamed “White Suiters” for the white suits they wear, the community-spirited men and women give up their evenings, weekends and holidays to ensure the success of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game.
This year’s grand marshal, Chaka Kahn, will vividly demonstrate the parade’s theme, “The Melody of Life.”
As a singer, songwriter, actor, author, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Kahn has influenced generations of entertainers in many music genres, including R&B, pop, rock, gospel, country, world music and classical. Throughout her career, Kahn has released 22 albums and ten #1 Billboard magazine-charted songs.

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