Los Angeles turns 231 in 2012. To mark the occasion, Los Pobladores, the descendants of our city's original settlers, will make the traditional nine-mile walk from San Gabriel Mission to Olvera Street on Saturday, Sept. 1.
Los Angeles is often painted by people elsewhere as a very future-forward city, the home to freeways and skyscrapers, a metropolis not content to rest on its laurels but to take down and build bigger.
That's not wholly true, of course; we're an old city, a city rife with history, a place that does respect its past, if only in pockets (but those pockets get bigger over time, thank goodness). LA is, in fact, turning 231 this year, and, once again, our city's birthday will be observed by a nine-mile walk from San Gabriel Mission to Olvera Street.
The date of the walk is Saturday, Sept. 1, which, as you likely know, is just a few days ahead of the city's official founding date of Sept. 4. Los Pobladores, or the settlers, is the name frequently attached to the walk, and descendants of those settlers are always part of the stroll. It's an early one, too; registration opens at 5 a.m. on Sept. 1, and the welcome speech is at 6 a.m.
And what's happening at Olvera Street? There'll be cake, of course. This is a birthday.
It's free to join, but consider that you'll have to figure out your return trip to San Gabriel (free bus tokens will be available, though).
If you've participated in one of our city's other long walks, like the Great LA Walk that happens each November, you know that these are fine times to meet people interested in LA's backstory and future. Or perhaps it is simply a good time to walk silently and think civic thoughts, and what it means to be an Angeleno.
Happy 231st, LA. We didn't get you anything, but your gifts are pretty plentiful and varied. A good thing.