Residents Deliver Big-Time At ‘Crunch Time’ Party

Attendees to Sunday’s “Crunch Time” dinner at the War Memorial Building ponder their bids for the silent auction that raised funds for the South Pas Tournament of Roses Committee. Photo by Henk Friezer

Organizers declared this year’s sold-out “Crunch Time” party — the annual Dec. 29 fundraiser for the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses float — a “huge success’’ as they looked back on Sunday’s packed house at the War Memorial Building.

Ellen Torres, who was in charge of ticket sales and tables, was elated with Sunday’s turnout and reflected on how the event has grown since the first such event was held in the late 1990s.

“Each year the event seems to be growing due to more community involvement and awareness,’’ Torres said. “Little changes made with the silent and live auctions have helped increase the amount of money we raise.

“We also have a wonderful team of Crunch Time volunteers who have been able to increase the number of donated items for the auction. All of these things together have helped make the event a huge success.’’

The final total raised still had not been tallied as of Thursday morning, but the take surely will go a long way toward paying the costs of this year’s float — and giving the committee a leg up on next year’s project. This year’s float cost an estimated $100,000.

The dinner was held as volunteers hurried to finish South Pasadena’s entry for the Rose Bowl Parade at the prep site next to the War Memorial.

Courtney Dunlap, president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee, said the float is the oldest volunteer-built entry in the parade. The city has been represented in the Rose Parade since 1893.

This year’s float celebrated the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which granted women the right to vote.

“The crunch party is always such a fun night,’’ Dunlap said.

By Wednesday, Dunlap saw the results of the everyone’s efforts when the city won the Mayor Trophy for best entry from a city.

“Our team has done an amazing job with this float,’’ Dunlap said after the award winners were announced. “I can hardly wait to see what the 2021 parade has in store for us.’’

City leaders were on hand at the dinner to lend their support, and longtime supporters caught up with friends as they bid on silent-auction items. Attendees milled around during to find seats in the packed hall.

Then they waited their turn to line up for a dinner of chicken or steak, plus sides and dessert.

A professional auctioneer urged attendees at the dinner to bid high in the auction for such items as eight seats to a Dodger game, an overnight stay at the Langham Hotel in Pasadena and free monthly pizza for a year at Charley’s Trio, a restaurant just next to the city line.

Mayor Bob Joe also presented three city “Image Awards” to recognize South Pasadena residents and leaders. This year’s awards went to Diane and Bill Cullinane; Shireen Chang; and the late Paul Abbey, a well-known float volunteer who died Sept. 27.