Monday, April 6, 2009

It was a grand grand-opening!

The official grand-opening events at the newly expanded and ga-ga-gorgeous Pasadena Convention Center took place Friday through Sunday.

There have been a few events there already, such as the California Police Chiefs Association conference last month.

But this past weekend was the occasion of the big bashes!

First there was the ribbon-cutting on Friday.

(My camera battery was DOA, so many thanks to Terry Miller of the Pasadena Independent for providing this photo after I threw myself on his mercy! All other photos below are mine.)

Then a formal gala that evening in the ballroom.

I loved the stars hanging from the ceiling.

Here's my attempt at an artful ceiling shot: Mayor Bogaard speaking to guests under the stars:

This terrific group played the standards we all know and love, and the singer was reminiscent of ol' Blue Eyes himself.

Of course this inspired everyone to trip the light fantastic!

Linda Centell of my staff and her husband Ed Washatka

Left to right: Joan Marshall, executive director of Pacific Asia Museum; Taka Suzuki, field representative to City Councilman Steve Madison; Judy Kent, field rep to Mayor Bill Bogaard; Margo Fuller, field rep to Councilwoman Margaret McAustin.

James Canfield and I worked for the City of Palm Springs in the 1980s and were on the team that opened the then-new Palm Springs Convention Center. He was on the center's management staff and I was the city's PIO. What fun to be part of the opening of Pasadena's new center together! Jamie is the executive director of Pasadena Convention Center and Pasadena Civic Auditorium.

City Councilwomen Margaret McAustin and Jacque Robinson

City Councilman Victor Gordo and his wife Kelly

Police Chief Bernard Melekian and his wife Nancy

Left to right: Janet Pope Givens, adjutant to the chief of police; Judy Kent; Ben Green, executive director of American Red Cross San Gabriel-Pomona Valley Chapter; Tom Coston, president of Light Bringer Project; Ben's wife Kelly; and Jan Sanders, director of Pasadena public libraries.

City Attorney Michele Bagneris and her husband Jules

Fast-forward to yesterday (Sunday) afternoon when the ballroom was the setting for the final event of this year's One City, One Story community reading celebration.

Jan Sanders had a fascinating conversation with Luis Urrea, author of this year's book "The Hummingbird's Daughter" during which he discussed his 20-year journey of research into his ancestor Teresita and his life experiences that led to writing the book.

Prior to his coming to Pasadena I commented on his blog a couple of times and he sent me a couple of emails, so I was thrilled to finally meet him and his sweet family.

Another thrilling moment was meeting Teresita's great-granddaughter Sylvia (left), at the event with Luis's wife Cindy.

Finally, there was a private reception last night at Mijares Restaurant in honor of Luis Urrea, and we all had a grand time.

The talented trio from Mijares serenaded us, even playing my special request: "Hace un año."

The final photo: Luis Urrea and Catherine Hany (right), the communications director at Pasadena Public Library.


Cafe Pasadena said...

Yeah, PIO, your battery may have suffered a premature death, but it still took fine pics!!

altadenahiker said...

I love that picture of the two of you.

Margaret said...

Looks glorious -- and don't you look fantastic in that beautiful blue!

pasadenapio said...

I ran right out after the ribbon-cutting and got extra batteries!

Petrea said...

That's a heck of a post, Ann. And Linda and Ed look spiffy.