Celebrate black history, culture and achievements at Pasadena’s 38th annual Black History Parade and Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15. This year’s theme is “For the Culture–Celebrating Our Excellence.” The parade features over 80 entries, including the Wilson Middle School Drum Corps as the opening performance; Miss Black Pasadena; the Tournament of Roses 2020 Royal Court; Pasadena City College Band; Blair, John Muir and Pasadena high schools marching bands; musicians; dancers; equestrians; local youth groups; dignitaries; community leaders; and vintage and custom cars. This black history parade is one of the largest and longest-running in California.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Fair Oaks Avenue and Figueroa Street in Altadena, then heads south on Fair Oaks Avenue before ending at Pasadena’s Robinson Park, 1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., where the festival takes place from noon to 4 p.m. on the north side of the park. The festival features live entertainment for all ages, food for purchase, a meet-and-greet with Miss Black Pasadena, the Power 106 Street Team, informational booths, and a children’s zone with activities.
The festival is known for having a variety of food, including barbecue, chicken and fish dinners, grilled burgers and hot dogs, and sweets like kettle corn, pies, cakes, lemonade, and ice cream. Returning this year is the popular Historically Black College and University (HBCU) College Fair.
The celebrity grand marshals are actress and singer Margaret Avery and actress and philanthropist Wendy Raquel Robinson. Avery is best known for her role as Shug Avery in ‘The Color Purple,’ which earned her an Academy Award nomination. Robinson is a Best Actress NAACP Image Award recipient and the executive director of Amazing Grace Conservatory. Beloved by audiences for her television roles on ‘The Game’ and ‘The Steve Harvey Show,’ her true passion is embodied in the work of the Amazing Grace Conservatory, which trains and develops emerging artists and at-risk youth in the performing arts.
The community grand marshal is Edna Bluain, a dedicated volunteer with the Black History Parade and Festival Planning Committee for over 20 years. Youth grand marshals are Alaysia Barker, a student at Loyola Marymount University who is active with campus cultural organizations and founder of a nonprofit scholarship organization; and Elijah Gates, a sophomore defense back on UCLA’s football team and product of the Mckenzie-Scott Boys and Girls Club and Pasadena Panther youth football program.
The parade will be recorded in its entirety by Pasadena Media, one of the event sponsors, and will air on KPAS, Pasadena’s government TV station, and Arroyo, the city’s community access channel; visit pasadenamedia.tv for broadcast times.
Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to navigate around street closures, find parking, and claim their favorite viewing spots along the parade route. Free parking will be provided on a first come, first served basis at Calvary Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, 135 Glorieta St.
The following streets will be closed for the parade and festival during the times listed below. Motorists are advised to use caution while driving through the area.
- Hammond Street between Fair Oaks and Morton avenues, 7 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Morton Avenue between Mountain Street and Woodbury Road, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Fair Oaks Avenue between Woodbury Road and Harriet Street, 7 a.m.-noon
- Fair Oaks Avenue between Mountain Street and Woodbury Road, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
- Mountain Street between Raymond Avenue and Sunset Street, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
For a full list of 2020 Black History Month events, visit the Department of Human Services and Recreation website. For more information about the parade, festival and other activities, contact the Jackie Robinson Community Center at (626) 744-7300.