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AAPI Heritage Month 2023 Ferris wheel lighting at the Santa Monica Pier

Published on April 25, 2023

The Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel will be lit red on Monday, May 1 in recognition of AAPI Heritage Month, 2023.

Since the early 1990s, the United States has observed Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (AAPI Heritage Month), a month-long celebration of the history, culture, and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. It is observed every May, and was first celebrated in 1977. Some 15 years later, Congress passed a joint resolution designating May as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Today, AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated by people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. It is a time to learn more about the history and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and to celebrate the many contributions that AAPI people have made to American society. Pacific Park will join other landmarks across the country with a special red light program on the world-famous Pacific Wheel on Monday, May 1. The Ferris wheel lights can be seen from dusk until 11:35 PM each evening. Enjoy watching the light program online at


Special Lighting of the Pacific Wheel for AAPI Heritage Month 2023

Monday, May 1
dusk (around 7:30 PM) to midnight

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier


Here are some other activities here in Santa Monica you can do to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month:

  • May 9, 2023, 5:30 p.m., Council Proclamation of AAPI Heritage Month: The City Council will present a proclamation declaring the month of May as AAPI Heritage Month to Anna Wong, niece of the famous actress and former Santa Monica resident, Anna May Wong. Watch in-person at City Hall or view the livestream on the City’s YouTube channel.
  • May 16, 2023, Virtual Book Discussion, 7 – 8 p.m.: Meet and chat with Joe Ide, crime novelist and author of the award-winning IQ book series. The latest book in the series, Fixit, will be released on May 9, and Snoop Dogg has signed on to executive produce a forthcoming TV series based on IQ. Follow the Library on Twitter @SantaMonicaLibr or visit for more details.
  • May 19 – 20, 2023, Library of Congress Veterans History Project, 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. at the Main Library: The Library of Congress celebrates AAPI Heritage Month by collecting stories of AAPI veterans. Give your oral history, which will become part of the permanent collections of the Library of Congress. The event is open to all US vets, regardless of race or ethnicity. Volunteers are also needed to conduct oral history interviews, operate cameras, and assist veterans. No experience is necessary; training is provided. Email or call (202) 707-1819 to reserve your interview time or volunteer.
  • May 20, 2023, Melissa de la Cruz in conversation with Stephan Lee, 2 – 3 p.m. at the Montana Branch: Melissa de la Cruz discusses her page-turning new adult novel Going Dark- with Stephan Lee, author of the buzzy K-POP Confidential novel series. Going Dark’s twisty, ripped-from-the-headlines thriller is about a social media influencer who goes missing while on a road trip with her boyfriend. Melissa will also share info on her role as founder and principal of Melissa de la Cruz Studio, a new venture she recently founded with Disney Publishing. A book sale and signing follow the authors’ discussion.
  • May 23, 2023, Rhythm and Spice: From 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., all are invited to beautiful Ken Genser Square at City Hall for this lunchtime event. Presented by CAPE SM, the event will feature food trucks and performers that offer a taste of a few cultures from the AAPI community.
  • May 30, 2023, Santa Monica Reads 2023 Book Discussion: The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee, 6 – 7 p.m., via Zoom: Join the community discussion of Heather McGhee’s nonfiction title which illustrates how racism is harmful to everyone and makes the argument that we all have an interest in fighting it. Register in advance for this meeting via Zoom.

AAPI Heritage Month is a time to learn, celebrate, and connect with the rich and diverse history and culture of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. By participating in these activities, you can help to raise awareness of AAPI contributions to American society and promote understanding and appreciation of AAPI cultures.

Pacific Park regularly programs the Ferris wheel to display seasonal programing and themed light designs for holidays and special occasions. The Pacific Wheel’s state-of-the-art lighting package was installed in 2016 and can display over 1.6 million different colors and animate patterns and icons in 24 frames per second. The energy efficient LEDs on the face of the Ferris wheel are powered by solar arrays inside Pacific Park. The light programs are curated and designed by Pacific Park staff. Each design is manually animated; some designs can take hours of programming. The aim is to provide fun, high-energy, and sometimes whimsical designs to entertain guests on the Santa Monica Pier and surrounding beaches.


Feature image courtesy of @sir_kris