Opinion by Shawn Spencer
I love birthdays! Not my own, of course, but I love celebrating the birthdays of people I care about. My favorite birthday party of all time is Monrovia’s! What’s not to love about three days of celebrating? An entire weekend kicked off by a parade of our kiddos; a carnival, complete with rides, games, food, the infamous beer garden and picture-perfect weather. I know I am not alone when I say that I’m sad we will not be having our normal party this year. After the 2020 that never really happened, I am filled with joy that we are taking steps back to normalcy. There will not be a parade this year, nor a carnival, but a modified Monrovia Days is far better than none. I know the city is excited to be able to allow this three-day celebration, while still following the guidelines set forth by the Los Angeles Public Health Department.
On May 14–16, Keely Milliken & Centre Stage along with the City of Monrovia and the Monrovia Unified School District, will host Monrovia’s 135th birthday celebration. The city will have additional picnic tables and are creating picnic pods to encourage social distancing. Participants will be required to sit in these designated areas. You’re welcome to pack your own picnic or use this as an opportunity to support local restaurants by ordering take-out! QRC codes will be placed in each picnic pod with a link to each participating restaurant and their menu. Some of the restaurants nearest the park will even deliver! While the event is still in the planning stages, some of the participating restaurants you can expect to see are Sena on Myrtle, Café de Olla, Basin 141, Ikonicks, Merengue, Bella Sera, The Diplomat, 38 Degrees, Jake’s Roadhouse, La Adelita, Seasoning Alley & Old Town Pizza. Don’t forget our restaurants in Foothill Park Plaza.
Monrovia Days will be a fun-filled weekend with live performances all weekend from our MUSD and Centre Stage students. Each day, the celebration will end with a professional band performance (details below). There will be free carriage rides, a free photo booth, a carnival snack booth, selling carnival goodies like popcorn, pretzels, cotton candy and churros. While you’re there, you can visit the Monrovia Rocks Garden installation. If you would like to submit a rock, all rocks must be submitted to the Community Center by May 7.
Friday, May 16, the party begins at 5 p.m. Bumptown (Motown), will be performing from 7-9 p.m. Saturday, May 17, Opening Ceremonies are at 10 a.m. Night Owl will be playing Top 40 hits from 7-9 p.m. On Sunday, May 18, Cold Duck closes the weekend celebration with R&B music from 3-6 p.m.
So, it is not our normal celebration, but it’s still going to be a lot of fun! Come on down and grab a picnic table or bring your own seating for a picnic pod. Order some grab-n-go lunch or dinner. You get to support our local restaurants while supporting our kids. They have continued to work hard all year long to prepare for this. Hopefully, there will be pod-dancing, because that’s my favorite part. I hope to see you all out there, wishing Monrovia a very happy birthday, shaking a tail feather to some great music and remembering your COVID guidelines so we can do more fun things in the future!
P.S. Sponsorship opportunities are still available for those interested. It really does take a village so if possible, pitch in to make this weekend even better!