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A Journey Through Time with Veteran Doo Dah Parade Participant Steven Thomas

Published on Sunday, November 19, 2023 | 6:26 am

The wacky Doo Dah Parade, Pasadena’s “other parade,” is set to return to its original route in Old Pasadena on Sunday morning.

The chance to step off once again on Raymond Avenue at Holly Street — something Doo Dah hasn’t done for 13 years — has ignited nostalgia and excitement among its long-time participants. Among them is Pasadenan Steven Thomas, a veteran performer and an antique bicycle collector, whose involvement with the parade spans decades.

Thomas said he was drawn to the Doo Dah Parade in its nascent years in the 1970s, attracted by the opportunity to showcase his collection of antique bicycles paired with period costumes. His journey with the parade began alongside Peter Apanel, one of the parade’s founders, marking the start of a tradition that would become an integral part of Thomas’s life.

Thomas recalls the parade’s evolution from its controlled, enjoyable beginnings to times when unruly behavior from spectators marred the experience. Thomas seems thrilled the parade’s return to Old Pasadena has been met with enthusiasm from local merchants, a shift from what he descrbes as retailers’ opposition that led to its relocation to East Pasadena years ago.

Thomas’s passion for the parade is evident in his commitment to participating, even as the number of his fellow riders has dwindled due to age and other circumstances. With a hopeful spirit, he plans to showcase at least half a dozen of his prized bicycles in this year’s parade.

The Doo Dah Parade, which Thomas said was initially conceived as a spoof of the more formal Rose Parade, has in his opinion played a crucial role in maintaining a sense of tradition and community spirit in Pasadena. He said his attachment to the parade is deeply personal, grounded in his family’s long history in the city and his own lifelong journey as a resident and enthusiast of local heritage.

The public can watch the zany Doo Dah Parade on Sunday, November 19. It steps off at 11 a.m. and will head south to Colorado Blvd., then turn west. The Parade is free to attend. For more see

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