On Saturday, Pasadena will host its 38th annual Black History Parade and Festival, one of the largest and longest-running black history events of its kind in California.  

Featuring 80 entries, including Miss Black Pasadena Alana Washington, and the Tournament of Roses 2020 Royal Court, the parade begins at 10 a.m. on Fair Oaks Avenue and Figueroa Street and ends at Robinson Park, located at
1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave.

“The significance [of the parade] is to display the excellence and the diversity of what the black community offers Pasadena, but also to embrace the other cultures that are within Pasadena as well,” said spokesperson Kenny James. 

James is a native of Pasadena and described the parade as something that gave him a sense of identity, awareness and strength.

“It was all about being able to give back to others and being able to help and support your community,” said James.

Pasadena Councilman and Vice Mayor Tyron Hampton, also a native of Pasadena, spoke about how the parade influenced him as a child.

“It was a great opportunity for me to see African Americans showcase themselves in the most positive light,” Hampton said. “It also made me recollect on the history of African Americans and how important they are to America as a whole.”

The parade will begin with a performance from Wilson Middle School Drum Corps. Marching Bands from Blair, John Muir and Pasadena high schools will also be featured in the parade, along with the Pasadena City College band. 

The celebrity grand marshals are Academy Award-nominated actress Margaret Avery and Best Actress NAACP Image Award recipient Wendy Raquel Robinson. Avery is best known for her role in the film “The Color Purple,” which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress. While Robinson is known for her roles on “The Game” and “The Steve Harvey Show”, she has also engaged in nonprofit work as the executive director and co-founder of Amazing Grace Conservatory, in which she works with emerging artists and at-risk youth in the performing arts. 

The community grand marshal is a long-time Black History Parade and Festival Planning Committee volunteer Edna Bluain. 

The youth grand marshals are two college students: Alaysia Barker of Loyola Marymount University, and Elijah Gates of UCLA. Barker founded a nonprofit scholarship organization and Gates is a sophomore defensive back for the UCLA Bruins Football team. 

The festival, from noon to 4 p.m., will take place after the parade arrives at Robinson Park. Enjoy an afternoon at the park while listening to live entertainment and meeting Miss Black Pasadena and the Power 106 team. 

There will also be a college fair featuring seven historically black colleges along with four local junior colleges and universities.

“For African Americans, it shows that there is a place where you can get higher education where there are people who understand what you’re going through on a day to day,” said Hampton. 

The parade will be recorded by Pasadena Media and will air on KPAS and Arroyo. Calvary Christian Methodist Episcopal Church is offering free parking on a first-come, first-first served basis.

“It’s a nice way to get to connect with people that I have not seen in a while,” said Allen Edson, president of the Pasadena NAACP chapter. “It’s a very inspiring event and it brings a lot of people together.”  n