After 18 years straight, a Pasadena neighborhood’s traditional patriotic Independence Day parade and picnic will not be taking place July 4 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The event has drawn the community together to honor veterans and first responders each year since it was founded in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.But social distancing guidelines have made it impossible this year.
“We are sad to not be hosting the MHNA Annual Picnic and Parade this year but we plan on continuing the tradition next year,” MHNA Vice President of Membership and Block Captain Chair Erika Foy said.
“It is a wonderful celebration not only for our neighborhood but the entire city. All are welcome to join us,” she said.
Foy added that she expected this Independence Day to be a quiet one in Madison Heights.
The parade traditionally features a local color guard, school bands, scout troops and a swarm of local children on bicycles decorated with American flags.
Pasadena Police Chief John Perez served as Grand Marshal last year.
He said the city will miss all of its traditional parades and celebrations, from the Rose Bowl’s AmericaFest to family barbecues, as will many others across the nation, as COVID-19 safety precautions make large gatherings a health risk.
“We can all feel something is missing as we plan for small group barbecues and Zooming events with family and friends,” he said. “It’s very strange and uncomfortable not to celebrate our national independence with fireworks and festive events.”
And the traditional parade and picnic in Madison Heights is a unique experience, he said.
“Madison Heights is the example of what makes our neighborhoods special, and the parade serves as a connection point for everyone and part of our local history,” Perez said.
“It may not be the Rose Parade, but walking in the Madison Heights parade gives that feeling of our New Year’s Day celebration with all the cheering and festive vibes from kids and adults,” he said. “ It will be missed this year, but it shouldn’t stop us from staying connected — from a distance.”