Bloom is off for festival in Pasadena

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first_imgPASADENA – They wanted different things. They grew apart. Finally, they decided it was best to part ways. The Cherry Blossom Festival left Pasadena this year and was instead held in Los Angeles. The breakup, it appears, was mutual. “The reason we took it to L.A. was because they were welcoming to us,” said co-founder and organizer Wendy Fujihara Anderson. “Los Angeles understands and embraces festivals – I don’t think that Pasadena has yet come up to the same level of understanding.” Los Angeles council members helped to publicize the event and made initial contact with event organizers, Anderson said. The Cherry Blossom Festival started out at the Convention Center, moved to Victory Park for two years and then the Rose Bowl for another two. Part of the problem was that the Rose Bowl was isolated and lacked public transport, Anderson said. The most phoned in question last year was “How do I get to the Rose Bowl?” The new arrangement has worked out well for the festival. It was held March 31 and April 1 in Little Tokyo, where it attracted 16,000 people. “We feel that we have found our new home after the fourth move,” Anderson said. Having been born and raised in Pasadena, Anderson said her initial preference was to have the event here. But, despite a donation of 500 cloud cherry blossom trees to the city “we did not have the same type of `welcome’ that we have in L.A. – actually almost no welcome,” she said. “We would not consider coming back.” In a survey of 2,000 attendees last year, 12 percent were Pasadena residents, organizers said. The most asked questions at information booths were for directions to Paseo Colorado and Old Pasadena. “If it’s not primarily a Pasadena celebration, then the case for accommodating it in light of these other issues is weaker,” Bogaard said. He pointed to concerns raised from other festivals, such as the Old Pasadena JazzFest which moved to the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia. “It was parking, it was noise, there was disruption of other commercial activities in Old Pasadena,” Bogaard said. “There was damage to the park from the kind of vehicles and equipment” used. The city makes an exception for the Rose Parade, which goes on to its 119th year next year and is intrinsic to the city’s identity, Bogaard said. “It’s a question of drawing a line at some point as to how many events we can accommodate,” he said. “We can’t be all things to all events.” [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “It was like everyone in the city of L.A. wanted us to succeed and pulled out all the stops to help,” she said, adding that fees and permits were waived. “We became what I call a VIP with all city services and departments in their help with our festival.” In Pasadena, where the festival originated six years ago, officials did not go out of their way to persuade the festival to stay. The city has a different take on festivals, Mayor Bill Bogaard said. “I would love it if it were possible for them to hold the event here,” Bogaard said. But “Pasadena has limited park space and I am committed to preserving it for traditional park use as opposed to festivals and events as much as possible.” The city usually waives certain fees, but does not absorb costs incurred by public works and public safety, Bogaard said. last_img

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