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Pasadena Plans Frenetic Finish for Centennial

June 12, 1986|ROD LAZO | Times Staff Writer

Every time the phone rings, Patricia Bond looks up, expecting the worst.

Behind a cluttered desk, she fields a steady stream of questions from her staff while sifting through a growing pile of memos and other paper work.

"There are a lot of people going nuts," she said. "Every night we're here until 8 o'clock."

Bond expects the coming days to be hectic. As executive director of the Pasadena Centennial Committee, her job is to try to make sure that the final events of the centennial celebration leave the city with memories that will last for the next 100 years.

Grand Finale

After five months of lectures, performances and gatherings celebrating the historical and cultural heritage of Pasadena, the city is gearing up for six grand-finale events within the next 10 days. The events, all free to the public, will begin Saturday with a parade, one of three events that Bond says will be major productions.

There also will be a daylong birthday party in front of City Hall next Thursday and the Super Weekend Centennial Festival, a two-day affair featuring ethnic foods, athletic displays and live entertainment, in Brookside Park on June 21 and 22.

Bond, with a staff that has grown from one part-time assistant to four full-time staff members within the last year, is not one to think small.

Her first idea was to give Pasadena a gift that would be entered in the Guinness Book of World Records by commissioning the largest cake ever baked.

Only after she learned that the world's largest cake weighed more than 81,000 pounds and would cost more than $30,000 to make did Bond finally settle for a smaller cake that will feed an estimated 3,000 people.

Another, more extravagant idea is planned for Saturday when the parade ends with a procession of 1,000 people carrying American flags.

The parade will begin at 11 a.m. at City Hall and travel west on Walnut Street, south on Pasadena Avenue and then east on Colorado Boulevard.

It will include an 1886 Mercedes Benz, a 1986 stretch limousine complete with Jacuzzi, as well as more traditional floats, antique cars and marchers representing the 10 decades since the city was incorporated.

Parade coordinator Shirley Manning said it has been somewhat difficult to organize a parade in a city already world-famous for them. "Whenever you put a parade on in Pasadena, you're in the shadow of the Tournament of Roses," she said.

Bond said the most elaborate celebration will be the two-day festival in Brookside Park, next to the Rose Bowl, June 21 and 22. The festival will include 40 food booths, games booths, carnival rides and three stages for performers.

"We have everything from Peruvian potato cakes to Indian fried bread," Bond said.

Programs for Children

Joanne Kumamoto, the staff member in charge of the festival, said there also will be sports demonstrations in the park, including martial arts and soccer.

"We're hoping that we can bring down 10,000 to 15,000 people," Kumamoto said. "We want to draw people in the morning with exciting programs for children, and in the afternoon people will naturally turn out."

One of the park's three stages will be devoted solely to children's shows, including puppeteers and mimes, Kumamoto said. Latino artists will lead children's workshops on how to build pinatas and wooden dolls.

From 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, 10 finalists from more than 145 entries in the Pasadena Centennial Song Contest will perform original compositions before a panel of celebrity judges. First prize is a round trip to Pasadena, Tex.

Anonymous Gift

Plans for the city's official birthday celebration--on June 19--came about after an anonymous Pasadena resident donated the money to build a stage in front of City Hall, and Ambassador Auditorium donated the labor and equipment for a sound system.

Several thousand Pasadena residents are expected to turn out there shortly before noon next Thursday, where a giant photo will be taken. A copy of the picture will be placed in a time capsule, which then will be sealed.

Later in the day, 28,000 balloons will be released, provided enough volunteers turn out from 6 to 11 a.m. that morning to help blow them up.

"This whole extravaganza in front of City Hall has a lot of hoopla," said Bond. The birthday celebration will continue at 7 p.m. with a light show and a performance by a 1,000-voice choir, she said.

Art Exhibit

But there is even more planned for the 100th birthday celebration, Bond said.

On Friday to Sunday, an art exhibit featuring the works of finalists in the Centennial Art Competition will be held at Pasadena Plaza.

A reception honoring artists Gifford Myers and Laura Parker, who each will receive $1,986 for art works purchased by the city, will be held 6:30 p.m. at the plaza.

On Tuesday, the Pasadena Chamber Orchestra will perform at 8 p.m. in Ambassador Auditorium. And on Wednesday, cultural and community institutions will conduct all-day open houses, giving tours of their facilities, along with performances.

Enthusiastic Support

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