Party Raises ‘Floatloads’ of Cash for Parade Entry

The annual Crunch Time Party is one of the last fundraising events South Pasadena residents engage in to get the float ready for the Jan. 1 Tournament of Roses Parade. Pictured is charity auctioneer Dawn Marie Kotsonis. See more photos on page 12. Photo by Henk Friezer

Almost 200 members of the community attended the Crunch Time Party Saturday night. The event raised funds for the city float that rode in the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade Jan. 1.

The party is held annually on Dec. 29. The site is the War Memorial Building, the construction site for the float.

The end of December is always crunch time for South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee (SPTOR) members. They are working against the clock to finish decorating the city’s official entry.   

Courtney Dunlap, committee president and Crunch Time chair, said the party is the float’s major fundraiser.

“I was hoping to raise $30,000 for the entire event,” she said following the fundraiser.

“We estimate that we raised $27,000 just on the live auction alone,” she said with pleasure.

Two factors helped boost auction proceeds. Dawn Marie Kotsonis, a professional charity auctioneer known as “The Gavel Girl,” conducted it. Her fast pace, humor, lively style and ability to connect with the audience created a favorable climate for bidding.

Another reason was that more choices were added to the bid list. The 21 offerings included Dodgers tickets and a case of Opus One Wine valued at $2,000.

Other revenues will be added to the total, which means Dunlap will exceed her goal. This includes funds raised during the 81-item silent auction.

In addition, auctioneer Kotsonis raised funds for the purchase of specific equipment and supplies. Proceeds from raffles and ticket, drink and centerpiece sales will also be added to the total.

Revenues from the event will help meet the committee’s $100,000 in expenses.

City Treasurer Gay Pia served as Master of Ceremonies. Attending were representatives of the City Council, School Board and police department. Members of the Chamber of Commerce and service clubs also participated. State Sen. Anthony J. Portantino and his District Representative Evette Kim were also present.

During the evening, So Pas Mayor Marina Khubesrian presented the city’s annual Image Award. This is given to individuals or organizations that enhance the image of South Pasadena beyond its borders.

She chose two recipients for the 2018 award.

“Both awardees work hard to maintain community,” she said.

Sam Quinones was the first honoree.

“Sam is a journalist who investigated the dramatic rise in heroin addiction,” Khubesrian said, “and connected the dots of how this opioid epidemic happened.” His book “Dreamland” documented his findings, she said (see separate story).

Quinones spoke about his work, stating that the city has been spared this drug scourge because of community involvement. Anti-heroin devices, he said, are such organizations and activities as SPTOR and concerts in the park.

Brad Colerick also received an Image Award for 2018. “He is a touring singer-songwriter with five albums to his credit,” Khubesrian said. “His latest release is ‘Nine Ten Thirty,’ which refers to the 91030 ZIP code.” Colerick hosts weekly live musical performances at the Arroyo Seco Golf Course, she said. (See separate story).

Colerick then picked up his guitar from the stage and sang the title track “Nine Ten Thirty,” his love letter to South Pasadena, for the audience.

Following the party, Dunlap encouraged all to stop on their way out to view the almost-finished float. Judges from the Tournament of Roses were scheduled to assess the float at 7 a.m. the following morning, she said.