The Arroyo Seco Golf Course was turned into a vintage carnival last Saturday night, complete with a Ferris wheel, games and contests, as the South Pasadena Educational Foundation (SPEF) held its annual Parti Gras celebration.

The event featured food from nearly two dozen of the area’s finest restaurants, drinks, a DJ, dancing, silent and live auctions, raffles and a few hundred of your friends and neighbors. And that’s not all. In keeping with the theme of this year’s event, there were also circus performers and even a Tarot card reader.

Parti Gras is an annual fundraiser for South Pasadena’s five schools. It’s a tradition that began more than 30 years ago in the Bristol Farms parking lot on Fair Oaks Avenue. That first party brought in roughly $28,000. This year’s event looks to raise more than $150,000.   

Organizers recognize that South Pasadena’s schools are facing another financial crunch. SPEF officials say state education spending is expected to drop by $500 million in the next fiscal year. In South Pasadena, that translates to nearly $1 million less than the district received last year.

SPEF is a volunteer-run organization that raises critical funds for the school district. Since its founding, the organization has given more than $8 million to the district, which has gone on to fund arts and science programs, a student wellness initiative, provide computer labs and classroom computers.

For more information about SPEF, visit

This year’s Parti Gras, presented by the South Pasadena Educational Foundation (SPEF) in Arroyo Seco Park, had an old-style carnival feel, complete with Olaf, the strong man, Betty, the bearded lady, Mysto, the Magician and a very, very tall man. It was all in the shadow of a giant Ferris wheel brought in for the big event. “Tonight we bring you the exciting, the spectacular, and the amazing through our carnival,” said SPEF President Scott Moe. “All the funds we raise tonight go toward need projects at the schools, training teachers and helping our kids. It’s only with the help of caring parents, like all of you, that we’re going to get there.” He thanked the Parti Gras committee, which spent countless hours putting the event together, recognizing the work of Parti Gras VPs (pictured above)


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