The Spirit of Hope Celebrated at Live on Green Pasadena

 Allen Edson and Tamieko Foster (Ricky Richardson Photo)
Allen Edson and Tamieko Foster (Ricky Richardson Photo)

By Ricky Richardson, Contributing Writer

Pasadena – Live On Green Pasadena returned to the Pasadena Convention Center, and so did I! A large, diverse crowd gathered inside the Pasadena Convention Center to officially kick-off 3-days of family fun and entertainment.

The 5th Annual Live On Green Pasadena Operation Hope was held on Sunday, December 29 through Tuesday, December 31, 2019.

Pasadena residents were joined by visitors from the Greater Los Angeles area, as well as fans in town for the Rose Bowl Parade and Rose Bowl Game between the Oregon Ducks and Wisconsin Badgers for the festivities in the Pasadena Convention Center.

Ally Phillips of Ally’s Kitchen jump started our taste buds with her Aloha Chicken wings and fabulous Sunday Morning Oven Pancakes with a variety of fruit- based toppings. Ally Phillips is the 2019 Dole Cook-Off Champion, Hallmark Channel’s #BestHomeCook Finalist and GE’s America’s Grandma.

The festival officially got underway with an inspired Welcoming Ceremony. Ashley Moreno, former Rose Queen hosted this special segment of the program. The Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles Color Guard Team was featured in the presentation of Colors and led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance. Guitarist Jon iLaw dazzled the crowd with his phenomenal rendition of the National Anthem, aided by the GSGLA Color Guard Team doing sign language to express the breath and scope of this marvelous masterpiece.

Pasadena Crowd City Chorus-a barbershop-style chorus was amazing as they sang “Oh Pasadena” as people came together in celebration of the Power of Hope!

Representatives from all the organization in attendance were acknowledged and recognized for their participation. Ronald McDonald House was one of the organizations present to inter-act with attendees.

Tamieko Foster, Founder of Miss Black Pasadena recited a poem that resonates with Hope, Still I Rise by Maya Angelou. Miss Black Pasadena is a first of its kind. The Miss Black Pasadena Mentor and Scholarship Program was created to crown the culture. The organization provides a space for Black girls to shine unapologetically. Miss Black Pasadena through a series of workshops, mentoring sessions, and pageant showcases, empower young women celebrating their beauty; cultivating their leadership skills; and reaffirming their role as change agents. The aim of Miss Black Pasadena is to honor the uniqueness of African American while uplifting the landscape of Pasadena. Miss Black Pasadena highlight the importance of self-improvement and celebrate the importance of sisterhood and commitment to the African American community.

The Pasadena Branch-A History of Making a Difference for All. The Pasadena Branch of the NAACP is celebrating its 100-year anniversary in Pasadena, having been chartered on September 8, 1919 by the National NAACP organization. The national organization has and continues to serve as the voice of African Americans and all minorities denied the basic dignities and rights of citizens, with the Pasadena branch focused on the local community and issues that include Economic Development, Education, Housing, and Legal Redress/Civic & Human Rights Compliance. Many of today’s minority-focused organizations stand on the shoulders of those in the NAACP whose hard-fought battles and accomplishments laid the groundwork for the current generation of activist to build upon.

The Armenian Folk Music Trio lead by Ruben Harutyunyan performed a set of treasured Armenian folk songs, featuring “Krunk” which means “crane” in Armenian and it is a symbol of longings for one’s homeland, and “Alagyaz” is a mountain in Armenia. The trio performed on the duduk-double-reed woodwind flute and dhol-double headed drum.

Dole Cooking Camp Counselor Nicole Schulman presented an educational and informative workshop entitled “How Does Your Garden Grow? Sweetly?

Award-winning Chef and Restauranteur Chef Zov Karamardian ( captivated the crowd as she shared stories of Armenian culture while creating a mouthwatering Roasted rack of lamb with pomegranate sauce, and Golden Lentil soup. There were a throng of people volunteering to sample her dishes to no avail. Click on the above link to visit her find the location of her popular restaurants.

 Sue B. Dance Company (Ricky Richardson Photo)
Sue B. Dance Company (Ricky Richardson Photo)

Sue. B. Dance Company presented a lively performance of tap dancing while spotlighting their legacy of talented youth. They also led the crowd in basic tap dance steps.

The Los Angeles Cultural Festival presentation was awesome. Dr. Harold Ganga brought forth the incredible, colorful, vibrant costumes representing various countries as they paraded through the Pasadena Convention Center.

A beautiful and authentic performance of Armenian folkloric dance was performed superbly by Nairi Dance Group to the delight of the audience.

Chef Saul Jauregui demonstrated how making scratch-made taquitos along with multi-layered dip into a whole new experience.

A plethora of gifts were raffled off throughout the day, no purchased necessary! Raffle prizes consisted of cookbooks from Ally Phillips and Chef Zov, Dole Aprons, Albertsons/Vons gift cards, Dole Watch, Dole Gift bags at the Culinary Stage.

The Let Us Entertain You Stage raffle prizes consisted of IMS Rose Parade Gift Basket, Tickets to the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, tickets to see an upcoming show featuring Miranda Lambert at the Toyota Arena in Ontario courtesy of Go Country 105 Radio.

The Coaches Challenge Family Fun Zone featured on-going engaging activities all day-make crowns and scepters, create paintings of Hope, design conservation bracelets, take a selfie with the Mayflower Pilgrims, meet the USAF Weather Warriors, play engaging games, arts and crafts, face paintings, get a custom twisted balloon.