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Pasadena Celebrates Latin Culture with 25th Annual Latino Heritage Parade and Festival

Published on Sunday, September 17, 2023 | 5:11 am

The streets of Pasadena burst into a vibrant celebration of Latino heritage on Saturday as an estimated 2,000 participants and spectators gathered for the city’s 25th annual Latino Heritage Parade and Festival. 

Even the sullen skies couldn’t dampen the bright spirits that drew inspiration from this year’s theme, “Reaching for the Stars.” The festivities illuminated the achievements of Latinos in the United States. 

The morning parade started at Los Robles Avenue and Buckeye Street, moving southward before concluding in front of City Hall. Attendees then enjoyed an afternoon festival, featuring live performances, educational booths, and authentic Latino cuisines.

Notable parade participants included Angelica Salas, the Grand Marshal and Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), alongside Community Grand Marshal, Yuny Parada, a prominent local Latino rights activist. Both have deep connections with the immigrant experience and have been pillars in Pasadena’s Latino community for years.

“This has been my home. I have a deep love for the city itself,” Salas told Pasadena Now. “And also I’ve seen how our Latino community has grown and has contributed to the city. So it’s wonderful that we have a date that recognizes our Latino contributions to our community.”

Salas’s counterpart, Parada, originally from El Salvador, settled in Pasadena in 1979. She now serves on the board of the Pasadena Chapter of the ACLU and the President’s Latino Advisory Committee of Pasadena City College.

Other parade highlights included performances by John Muir High School’s magnet marching band and dance squad, the striking display from Aztec Dance Yankuititl, and the rhythmic steps of Danza Folkloria Mexica. Numerous city officials, including Mayor Victor Gordo and Vice-Mayor Felicia Williams, were present, waving and interacting with paradegoers.

Sponsored by the City of Pasadena Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department and the Pasadena Latino Heritage Parade and Festival Committee, the annual tradition aims to enrich the community through cultural appreciation.

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