Sign Up For The Loop!

AAPI Heritage Month 2024 Ferris wheel lighting at Santa Monica Pier

Published on April 17, 2024

The Pacific Wheel will be lit red on Wednesday, May 1 in recognition of AAPI Heritage Month, 2024.

The month of May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month. This annual celebration recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

To mark the occasion, we’ll be illuminating the world-famous Pacific Wheel with a special lighting program in red. This is an auspicious color in Chinese culture associated with vitality, passion, good fortune, and celebration.

You can view the AAPI Heritage Month Ferris wheel lights from dusk until midnight on May 1. The best views of the Pacific Wheel light programs are from the Santa Monica Pier boardwalk just west of the amusement park or on the beaches south of the Pier.

If you can’t make it down for this special lighting event, you can always check out the lights on the Pacific Wheel by viewing Pacific Park’s live-streaming webcams.

Special Lighting of the Pacific Wheel for AAPI Heritage Month 2024

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

Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier


The History:

AAPI Heritage Month had its beginnings in 1977, when two US Representatives introduced a resolution to establish an “Asian Pacific Heritage Week”. This was signed into law as an annual event two years later.

Then, in 1992, Congress designated May as “Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month”. The month of May was chosen to acknowledge the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843. It also marked the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

Today, AAPI Heritage Month is celebrated by people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. It’s a great time to learn more about the history and culture of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders and Native Hawaiians, and to celebrate the hugely positive impact that AAPI people have made—and continue to make—on American society.

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

  • May 4, 2024, 6–7pm, Santa Monica Trapeze School: Join Santa Monica Trapeze School for a free Asian American/ Pacific Islander heritage circus show celebrating their students and staff performers of AAPI heritage. 370 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica. Visit Website
  • AAPI Cultural Celebration Day at bG Gallery: Expanding beyond the visual arts, bG Gallery will host a day of cultural performances and programming for the second time on May 18th, offering a dynamic array of experiences celebrating the richness of AAPI heritage within the context of the Moon & Stars: Los Angeles Asian Women in Art exhibition, curated by Sung-Hee Son. Attendees can look forward to the exhilarating beats of Improv Taiko, ancient traditional Korean music performed on the Haegeum by fifteen-year-old Kenneth Lee; thoughtful compositions of Feng Shui Poetry by Jen Cheng; and the serene rituals of a Japanese Tea Ceremony by Kaoru Kuribayashi. This year’s lineup also introduces Cold Tofu Comedy Improv and an inspiring collaboration with Share Your Asian Story, promising a day filled with laughter, reflection, and community engagement. bG Gallery is at 2525 Michigan Ave, #A2 Santa Monica.


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 @rughead8