There’s nothing like great early-summer weather to inspire people to seek fun in the sun, and this weekend offers three big events in the Crown City to kick the season off right.

Following two colorful, successful editions that brought several thousand art-lovers to the district in 2017 and 2018, “BoldPas: A Day of Art & Play in Old Pasadena” returns from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, June 8. The event, presented by the Old Pasadena Management District and staged in Old Pasadena’s historic 19th-century alleys, is free to the public and offers a one-day-only opportunity to encounter artistic, ephemeral interventions in unique urban spaces.

BoldPas features installations that are stylistically bold — showcasing bright colors, surprising scale, and unique materials — and all invite direct interaction with event-goers. Seventeen installations will be on view, created by selected artists from the greater Los Angeles area who will be on hand throughout the day to present their work to visitors.

Among the innovative installations are a 50-foot canvas suspended above an alley, a sea of balloons that invites exploration, street artists transforming a wall with graffiti, murals, a pop-up tattoo parlor, shadow people who come to life and many more attractions.  Three Old Pasadena businesses will showcase large-scale installations on their exterior façades, as Gold Bug (34 Union St.) features “Underwater Dreams,” Homage (100 N. Fair Oaks Ave.) features “Senbazuru: The Legend of 1,000 Cranes” and Maude Woods (55 E. Holly St.) features “Orbs.”

Finally, the Armory Center for the Arts (145 N. Raymond Ave.) will host the program “Descubra” from 1 to 5 p.m. A program created by the Smithsonian Latino Center to inspire the next generation of science, history, and cultural enthusiasts, it features free, hands-on art making activities for all ages, live ukulele performances and workshops and informal conversations with arts and science professionals.

Printed maps will be available event day at all three info booths and art stops located in the district, so attendees can take a self-guided tour of all the districtwide Art Installations, Art Stops, and Art Activities.

Meanwhile, Saturday is also hopping in the Playhouse District, as the Pasadena Playhouse throws its second annual “Block Party” from noon to 10 p.m. on Colorado Boulevard and El Molino Avenue. This free event features live music, food, libations, guided tours, and activities, all curated by local arts organizations and community partners.

More than 12,000 people attended last year’s inaugural event, and this Saturday will feature another full day of fun, with live music and performances by more than 20 community and performance groups all day on two outdoor stages. There will also be more than 25 interactive exhibits, activities, games and a kids’ zone provided by numerous community partners and organizations.

The Party will feature a Main Stage and a Family Stage, with the Main one offering performances from Plaza de la Raza Mariachi Youth Ensemble presented by El Portal, Ballet Folklorico Quetzal, Debatable Productions, The NoteAbles Children’s Choir from the Professional Child Development Associates, Rhythms of The Village, School of Rock Pasadena, and SiZa, among others.

The Family Stage will feature Bob Baker Marionette Theater, Jimmy H. Comedy Magician, Pasadena Civic Ballet Musical Theater, Tutu School Pasadena, Vroman’s Bookstore and more. Backstage tours of the historic Pasadena Playhouse will also be a key part of the day, with food trucks including: Vchos, Kona Ice, Wise BBQ, Coolhaus, Belly Bombz, Lobsta Truck, Dinas Dumpling, and India Jones, plus snack stands and libations all available for purchase as well.  

Those attending in the afternoon can enjoy free mini-tours of the Playhouse District during the block party at 3 and 4:30 p.m., led by Pasadena Walking Tours. Visit pasadenawalkingtours.com for more info, and to learn about the tours they host at 2:30 p.m. most Saturdays (except this week). Their regular tours are $20 for adults, $5 for children ages 5 to 12 and free for under 5, with custom pricing for group  tours. Email info@pasadenawalkingtours.com.

Pasadena Transit will make it easy for people to attend both, by offering free frequent service on its Route 10 between Lake Avenue and Fair Oaks Avenue. Buses will run every 6 to 8 minutes from 12 noon to 10:30 p.m., allowing seamless transportation between BoldPas and Block Party.


For those wishing to take the Metro Gold Line to Memorial Park or Del Mar Station, all art installations are within walking distance from both stations. Plan your trip on metro.net or call 323.GO.METRO (323) 466-3876.