PALMDALE – More than a thousand people of all ages converged on Poncitlan Square Friday evening to join the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Palmdale’s incorporation as a city.
Children busied themselves making keepsake party hats, sun glasses, and streamers as parents relaxed under the trees listening to the Tony Capko Orchestra, featuring Bernie Miesinger.
Nearly everyone had a story to share about how the city has evolved over the years.
“I’ve been in Palmdale since 1989,” said Kamal Al-Khatib. “I came here when the population was about 67,000, and over the years I saw a lot of development here… The population keeps growing and getting more diverse.”
“I’ve been here for 23 years and it’s grown a lot,” said Dr. Krishna Doddana. “When I first came, there was nothing between Acton and Lancaster, but the population has exploded over the years and there’s been a lot of positive change.”
“We can learn from Palmdale what we need to do in Lancaster,” said Lancaster resident Dr. Miguel Coronado. “The camaraderie, the togetherness, the friendliness, and the openness of the people from all backgrounds and nationalities.”
Highlights of the evening included a special tribute to the City’s founding fathers, a Palmdale “cheer” led by the Dazzler cheerleaders from Dazzler Cheer, and an appearance by Palmdale resident and Olympic medalist Lashinda Demus.
“This is evidence that we are a community,” said Communications Manager John Mylnar. “We are a community of people who like to have a good time together, who like to celebrate together.”
View sights from the celebration below, and then visit our facebook page for many more pictures of the event.
More than a thousand people from across the Antelope Valley attended the 50th birthday celebration, which included food, music, giveaways, videos, classic cars, confetti, dancing, presentations and the singing of “Happy Birthday.”
The Tony Capko Orchestra, featuring Bernie Miesinger, performed music from the ‘Rat Pack’ era, which was popular around the time the city incorporated.
The city presented special lapel pins to family members in memory of the “50 Grand Men”, who were the original contributors of $100 each in order to fund the project that led to Palmdale’s incorporation in 1962. “Only the families of the 50 grand men will receive this pin; it will not be available to the community at large,” said programs supervisor Trish Jones. “So if you see this as you’re walking around, you will know that they are descendants of our founding fathers.”
Lancaster councilman Marvin Crist (left) received a pin in honor of his grandfather, Mason Whitehead, who is one of the city’s founding fathers. “I think this is more than being a representative of Lancaster coming to Palmdale,” said Crist. “It’s about bringing a community together… They tried to bring the entire community together by incorporating it. They put their own money into it and they solidified the future of the Antelope Valley.” Crist is also the nephew of another founding father, Eddie Debs.
Several Lancaster residents came out to the celebration, including (L to R) Maureen Feller, Lilia Galindo and Ed Galindo.
Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford was unable to attend the celebration, so his son Kye Thompson spoke on his behalf. “My dad could not be here, he’s at home recovering, doing well,” Thompson said. “We just want to say Happy Birthday and thanks for all your support. He’ll (Ledford) be back real soon.”
The Dazzler cheerleaders from Dazzler Cheer performed a special Palmdale “cheer” in honor of the city’s 50th anniversary.
Palmdale resident and Olympic medalist Lashinda Demus received a hero’s welcome. “Definitely not the last Olympics for me,” Demus told the shrieking crowd. “I’m going to Rio in 2016, I’m not stopping until I get that gold medal!”
Demus graciously signed autographs and took pictures with several fans.
For many more pictures of Palmdale’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, visit our facebook page.