Just three years shy of its centennial, Monterey Park will celebrate its 97th birthday with a four-day event starting tonight that is jammed pack with live performances, carnival rides, games and food.
Monterey Park officially became a city on May 29, 1916, and since 1966 the city has marked the occasion with its annual “Play Days” celebration. This year’s festivities run through Sunday at Barnes Park.
Although Monterey Park is well known for its ethnic and cultural events, like the recent Cinco de Mayo Fiesta and the Lunar New Year celebration held in February, the city’s annual Play Days does not have a cultural theme, according to Recreation Superintendent Robert Aguirre.
“… It’s just about bringing together the community and celebrating the city,” he said.
This year’s event kicks off at 7p.m. today with a “Play Days Idol” competition where local singers and musicians will perform.
The annual “Play Days” parade takes place on Saturday, May 18 at 11 a.m. along Garvey Avenue, between Alhambra and McPherrin Avenue. The Alhambra Unified School District Band, Schurr High School Band, dance groups, clowns, members of the local community will join this year’s special grand marshal, TV personality Eduardo Xol, star of the ABC show “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Former Mayor and City Councilman David Lau, who retired from city council in March, was chosen by the city’s historical society to serve as honorary grand marshal. His wife, Actress Cici Lau, will accompany him.
From 5 to 10 p.m. tonight, May 16, tickets for the carnival rides tickets are $1. On Sunday, between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday, you can buy a “Ride All You Want” wristband for $15.
Aguirre told EGP that while the city helps fund the event, revenue from ride tickets and the work of volunteers help make the event possible, as does the sponsorship donation from local shopping venue, Atlantic Square.
Supporting Play Days, “enables these types of events to continue in the future,” he said.
Barnes Park is located behind City Hall at 350 S. McPherrin Ave. For more information, visit http://www.ci.monterey-park.ca.us/ or call the recreation department at (626) 307-1388.
Monterey Park “Play Day” Hours
Thursday, May 16: 5p.m.-10 p.m.
Friday, May 17: 5 p.m.-12 a.m.
Saturday May 18: 12 p.m.-12 a.m.
Sunday, May 19: 1p.m.-10p.m.