By Marissa GOULD and Isiah REYES
The annual La Cañada Flintridge Fiesta Days celebration, a community event held over the Memorial weekend, offered something for everyone. Festivities began on Friday evening with casino night benefiting the Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge and ended on Monday with the summer kick off of Music in the Park. Highlights included a barbecue, music and a fireworks display (courtesy of Allen Lund Company) Sunday night at Memorial Park in La Cañada Flintridge. The park was packed with folks who either brought picnic dinners or purchased food onsite. When darkness fell, the crowd was hushed as the first of the fireworks burst overhead.
On Monday, following the annual Fiesta Days Run sponsored by the Crescenta-Cañada YMCA, the Memorial Day observance and the traditional parade down Foothill Boulevard, it was time for Afternoon in the Park.
Held on the grass at Memorial Park, various booths were erected around the park’s perimeter while people set up chairs and blankets in the middle. The La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce was onsite; their booth had plenty for kids with bubbles, mural paintings, and face paintings. The U.S. Forest Service had a water game, shooting a water gun at a raging “fire” to help put it out. The Pasadena Humane Society also took part, raising awareness of their pet adoption services. California Edison educated people on the benefits of solar power.
Not only were there games, but plenty of food as well. A traditional Memorial Day barbecue had stomachs grumbling as chefs cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for hungry customers. Once the kids ate their food, it was off to look at another booth or play on the jungle gym. Adults, meanwhile, stood around, sipped some soda, and talked to their friends in the afternoon heat. At the gazebo, crew members were setting up for Music in the Park.
Winding up the Fiesta Days festivities was Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries who rocked Memorial Park. The May 26 concert was the kick off for the Music in the Park series, which is a concert series that traditionally begins on Memorial Day weekend and continues on through the end of August.
“I thought it was awesome,” said Bill Benjamin, a spectator who has attended the Memorial event for the past three years. “It’s a beautiful event. It brings the community together more so than any other event.”
Community members brought blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the evening’s entertainment. Kids and older folks danced away in front of the gazebo as the band played 1950s and 1960s classic cover hits including “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” “Twist and Shout” and “Great Balls of Fire.”
Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries have been playing rock and roll shows for over three decades. They have been featured performers at world-class venues such as Disneyland, Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain in addition to their appearances at three Super Bowls and the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.
Kelvin Franklin,17, was one of the dancers enjoying the music.
“You don’t need to be a dancer,” Franklin said. “You can just come up and enjoy the music.”
In between the main set was a performance by The Sisters of Swing, a Los Angeles-based trio who recreates the era of the Andrew Sisters, an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie period. Its members are Teresa Parente, Ember Vaughan and Stephanie Krystad.
As people enjoyed the music, the Kiwanis Club was cooking over the grill and Boy Scouts from troop 502 helped serve snow cones.
Fiesta Days were founded in 1973 to celebrate the Spanish heritage of the community during the week of Cinco de Mayo. It has since become a complete small town community celebration and has moved to the end of the month of May.
Every concert in the Music in the Park will be held on Sunday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. People are welcome to bring a picnic basket, blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy an evening with family and friends.
Featured bands play a variety of music from rock and roll, blues, reggae, and country. All concerts will be held at Memorial Park (1301 Foothill Boulevard).
The 41st Annual Memorial Weekend Fiesta Days was hosted by the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber of Commerce and Community Association.
To see more Fiesta Days pictures, visit www.cvweekly.com/NEWS