Over 67 years ago, it began as a handshake between two friends and fellow Lakewood Lions Club members. Dr. Walter Montano, the former Bolivian Consul to Los Angeles, and Jesse Solter, a local schoolteacher, agreed to begin a program to foster good relations with Lakewood’s Latin American neighbors. Today, Lakewood’s fiesta is the nation’s only community-wide celebration of Pan American culture outside of Washington, D.C. And it’s a great way for Lakewood residents to take part in one of the city’s traditions.
The Pan America Fiesta offers three-days of family-friendly celebration at Mayfair Park the second Friday each May. The family-friendly festival continues on Saturday and wraps up Sunday evening. The fun begins with carnival rides on Friday evening and continues on Saturday from about 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., and on Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Food booths are open on Saturday and Sunday.
The fiesta’s traditional pancake breakfast, sponsored by the Pan American Association, will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, typically from 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and is reasonably price. On Sunday—Mother’s Day—breakfast and a gift are free for all moms, along with live entertainment and fun shopping at the fiesta’s craft booths. There's also special Monther's Day Brunch at The Centre at Sycamore Plaza.
Carnival rides, food, art, music and dancing
Typically moe than 60 arts and crafts dealers will bring their wares to the fiesta. There will also be an artist demonstration by members of the Lakewood Artist Guild. In the Children’s Cultural Booth, kids can have a free, hands-on cultural experience featuring activities and arts and crafts from across the Americas.
Free entertainment begins on Saturday with 2013 featuring Mayfair High School youth bands and choral group. The fiesta’s opening ceremonies are usually scheduled for noon. Music and dance was featured in 2013 including Latin Jazz, Country Western, Salsa, Top 40, and a Polynesian Revue—will continue on the fiesta’s main stage throughout the weekend. There will be lots of opportunities for Lakewood residents of all ages to try out their dance moves—or just listen—to many kinds of music.
For a complete schedule of fiesta events and times, go to www.lakewoodcity.org/panam or call 562-866-9771, extension 2408 in late April.
Save money with pre-sale tickets
Typically, pre-sale carnival ride and breakfast tickets are available before the event Lakewood City Hall (and at Mayfair Park beginning closer to the event date). Advance purchase of tickets can save you money.
Rides generally require three to five tickets when purchased the day of the event. A wrist band purchased on Saturday and Sunday will allow unlimited rides. Parking is usually available in the east parking lot of city hall (Clark/Del Amo). A free shuttle will run from city hall to Mayfair Park every 15 minutes.