Pasadena’s Black History Parade, one of Southern California’s largest and longest-running Black history parades, will be held on Saturday, Feb. 18, starting at 10 a.m. at Fair Oaks Ave. and Figueroa Drive, and ending at Robinson Park, at 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
This is the first time in two years that the parade and festival are back in person after COVID-19 restrictions eased. Usually held on the third Saturday of February, the parade and festival last took place on February 15, 2020.
“This is going to be our very first in-person parade since the pandemic. So we’re really excited. We’re dedicating this parade to the late Councilmember John Kennedy,” Pixie Boyden, a community organizer helping with the Black History Parade, said.
After the end of the parade at Robinson Park, the Black History Festival will commence at the same location and will feature live bands, dance performances, community booths, guest speakers, food for purchase, and “tons of fun for the entire family,” a release about the festival read.
“Our theme this year is celebrating the excellence and legacy of council member John Kennedy. It’s one of those wonderful moments of everyone being able to participate,” Boyden added.
Late City Councilmember John J. Kennedy, passed away on July 21 last year. Kennedy served as City Councilmember from 2013 until the time of his death.
Two Pasadena natives who are sitting Los Angeles County Superior Court judges – Pamela Dansby and Tara Newman – will serve as Community Grand Marshals for the parade.
“Those two in particular have embodied a lot of the work that John Kennedy believed in, especially around equity and social action and social justice for African Americans,” Boyden said.
Award-winning CBS sportscaster Jim Hill is serving as Celebrity Grand Marshal.
“He’s done so much awesome work within the community over the years,” Boyden said. “He’s been dedicated to Pasadena and participating in a lot of youth sports and youth groups within our community, so it seemed natural that he would be honored this year as well for all of the work that he’s doing as a sportscaster on public tv.”
The City closed the application period for parade entries Tuesday, but some of the more popular community groups have already registered and will be at the parade.
Boyden cited some of them: both fraternal and sorority groups in Pasadena, schools of the Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD), the Wilson Middle School Band which has always been a part of the Black History Parade, the Pasadena Cowgirls, the Pasadena NAACP and the Tournament of Roses Association.
Caltech and Pasadena City College delegations will also be in the parade, as will be several public officials in Pasadena.
“It is a great opportunity for the community to reconnect post-pandemic in a way that’s culturally sensitive to highlighting some of the excellence that has happened over the years,” Boyden said.
“It’s one of those times when we need to rebond with each other and celebrate as a community, our heritage as a whole. And that can be done in many ways, but some of the best ways are when you’re just breaking bread with one another, sharing a story and sharing a parade,” Boyden concluded.