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Grand Park party to send off LA mayor with celebrities, live music and free nachos

By Hayley Fox
Published: Wednesday, June 05, 2013, at 09:23AM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

Grand Park will be filled with music, food and celebrities this Friday for the CelebrateLA! festival, which will send off current Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and welcome Mayor-elect, Eric Garcetti.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is having a going-away party and everyone's invited.

A festival dubbed CelebrateLA! will send off the current mayor this Friday at Grand Park. The celebration will also welcome Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti, with a frenzy of food trucks, live music, and celebrities galore.

According to city officials, this party marks the culmination of the City's Annual Heritage Months and is intended to honor L.A.'s "diversity, creativity and innovative spirit." The celebration starts at 5 p.m. with performances by youth choirs and orchestras. At 9 p.m. Pepe Aguilar is scheduled to take the stage along with Mariachi el Zacatecano.

In between there will be cooking demonstrations, a thumbprint mural, a photo booth and the L.A. Galaxy team will be hanging out. In addition to the free nachos advertised by the city, food trucks ranging from Mariscos Jalisco to Coolhaus and The Melt will be on hand. There will also be (stationary) food booths selling fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a diner serving eats from Homeboy Industries.

And what's a true L.A. party without celebrities? Radio personality and TV host Ryan Seacrest will be there, as will actress Wanda Sykes and perhaps the biggest attraction of them all — former president Bill Clinton.

The party will sprawl from the steps of City Hall through much of Grand Park, with some street closures in the surrounding area, including Broadway Avenue and Spring Street. To avoid the parking crush, you can take the Metro Red Line to Civic Center or ride your bike, and have it parked by the party's bike valet.

KPCC reports that the party has $265,000 budget, according to the Mayor's Office. Of that, $190,000 was donated by Time Warner Cable, Wells Fargo, Disney, the Bohnett Foundation, LA 2050, the Department of Water and Power and Port of Los Angeles. The remaining $75,000 is what it costs to use city crews for the party — such as police and street services.

At least one union that represents city employees criticized the expenditure.

"At a time when the city says it can't afford its employees and says it needs its employees to contribute more toward healthcare and retirement, they're throwing a $75,000 party for the mayor," Art Sweatman, a union steward for Service Employees International Union (SEIU) local 721, told the Los Angeles Times.

Friday's party goes from 5 to 10 p.m. and is open to the public.

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