By Mary O’KEEFE and Dylan SYLVESTER
For the 43rd year, the City of La Cañada Flintridge hosted its annual Fiesta Days celebration. Beginning on Friday with a casino night held at the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge and ending with the launch of Music in the Park on Monday afternoon, there was something for everybody over the four days. Fiesta Days was initially a festival held to celebrate the Spanish heritage in the community during Cinco de Mayo. The festivities have been moved however to encompass the Memorial Day weekend and serves in honoring our soldiers now as well.
The popular community breakfast and vintage car show in Memorial Park started things off on Saturday morning. Hundreds came out to enjoy a hot breakfast then peruse the cars.
Families were encouraged to return to Memorial Park on Saturday night for the Saturday Family Flick that featured “The Minions.” Classic movie concessions and a food truck from Los Gringos Locos guaranteed a fine time.
The fun continued on Sunday when the Lanterman Historical Museum Foundation hosted its annual Summer Whites Picnic and Ukulele Rendezvous as part of Fiesta Days. The event, which was free of charge, was held from noon to 4 p.m. and included free tours of the historic house. Sunday night was barbecue, sponsored by NASA Services, music by the La Cañada High School jazz band and fireworks sponsored by the Allen Lund Co. LCF Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Pat Anderson estimates that about 3,000 attended the barbecue and fireworks show.
On Monday morning things started early with the Crescenta Cañada YMCA 5K/10K Fiesta Run at 7:30 a.m. followed by the somber Memorial Day commemoration at Memorial Park. Then came a highlight for many – the Memorial Day parade.
Foothill Boulevard was lined with thousands of community members ready to watch the La Cañada Memorial Day parade. By 7 a.m., chairs could already be seen along the streets for the parade that didn’t start until 10:30 a.m. But parade-goers were eager to claim their perfect spot from which to enjoy the show.
“It is difficult to judge how many people were on the sidelines watching and cheering for the parade as it passed by,” said Anderson. “I can tell you it appeared to be about the same as last year and the weather sure was on our side for Memorial Day! My guess is about 4,000 [people came out].”
La Cañada residents Steve and Gilda said they had been attending the parade since 1973 and haven’t missed a year.
“It used to run uphill but by the end everyone was pooped,” Steve said explaining why it was switched downhill a few years later.
The parade opened with the saluting of the colors headed by a bagpiper who led the party. Los Gringos Locos, a longtime La Cañada staple, was next kicking things off with a band that played “La Bamba” with a fun energy that didn’t lag for a moment.
For the next hour or so were community groups ranging from the La Cañada High School marching band, the local Humane Society and Animal Rescue. Impressive performances were also given by Korean American Association dancers and tai kwan do martial artists. Supporting the festivities was Sprouts Farmers Market that was offering free hot dogs and face painting outside its store.
“Every event this weekend was completely successful. We are receiving a considerable amount of positive feedback from all events through emails, phone calls, personal contact, Facebook and Twitter,” said Anderson. “The Fiesta chairman, Barbara Marshall, and I have had discussions on how next year might be. We are always looking for ways to make it even better.
“My personal joy and the reward for a lot of hard work by many volunteers and my staff is to observe so many people having such a wonderful time as we come together to celebrate our city’s heritage and to emphasize the importance of Memorial Day and to honor and recognize the men and women in uniform who dedicate themselves to keeping us safe and protecting our freedoms.”