The Colorado Street Bridge Party, an evening celebrating the historic bridge will return on Saturday, July 15 with live music and dancing, free children’s activities and performances, festive food and beverages, and more.
Held every-other-year (pre-pandemic), the bridge party is a fundraiser event organized by local architectural preservation nonprofit Pasadena Heritage. The event traditionally has kicked off with a parade of vintage vehicles, followed by a traditional barbeque dinner that over the years evolved into a variety of cuisine styles on offer.
According to Sue Mossman, Executive Director of Pasadena Heritage, the bridge party was first held in 1979 to raise funds for the repair and maintenance work for what was then a dilapidated Colorado Street Bridge.
Fewer than 200 people attended the inaugural party.
“Our very first event was to call attention to the bridge as it needed maintenance, and to raise funds for a structural study, which determined that the bridge was structurally sound. But it did need to have some serious maintenance. So it was a small party. It was to call attention to the state of the bridge,” said Mossman.
Since then, the event, now likened to a giant street party, has become a tradition looked forward to by thousands of residents, tourists, and even California state dignitaries. Nearly 5,000 people attended the last in-person party held in 2018.
Mossman said the event is not only a good way to bring the community together but also to have them understand the importance of historic preservation.
This year, Pasadena Heritage hopes to raise $300,000 to $400,000 from the event. The funds, which will come from ticket sales, beverage sales and sponsorships, will support Pasadena Heritage’s general operations.
“We do tours, we do all our advocacy work and we need funds to support those activities. So that’s where the money goes,” Mossman said.
According to Mossman, this year’s bridge party will feature vintage car displays and activities for children, such as arts and crafts, face painting, and even a carousel. The day ends with a colorful fireworks display over the bridge.
“We will also have great food for all, beverages including cocktails and wine and soft drinks, and craft beers. And then we have live music on three different stage areas,” she added.
Pasadena Heritage is yet to name the artists who will join the party as well as the vendors participating.
“We are looking at music, food vendors and other activities that will all go into the mix. We have a great committee and our board working on this along with staff, and we’re already in the planning stages,” said Mossman.
Pasadena Heritage was founded in 1977 to combat the demolition of cherished cultural and historic landmarks in Pasadena.
Over the last two years, the nonprofit, known for the preservation of the Colorado Street Bridge and Old Pasadena, has focused on working with the city to update the Land-Use Element of the General Plan, mansionization and creating single-family residential design standards, and historic homes along the Caltrans 710 corridor.