Let’s start the New Year with a festival of flowers, music, and sports thanks to the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena. Every year, on January 1st, the city hosts the Rose Parade followed by the Rose Bowl, a college football Championship. It is a colorful and festive event to experience!
A Pinch of History
- The Tournament of Roses was launched on January 1, 1890, by the Valley Hunt Club, a hunting and fishing social club.
- Created to promote Pasadena as the “Mediterranean of the West” in comparison to the snowy East Coast.
- It was inspired by the flower festival in Nice, France. Cocorico!
- Nowadays, it’s produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.
My day started before sunrise to go to the Tournament of Roses. Pasadena is seething with excitement, as the crowd settles for the 8 am show. A few hours of sleep and a good coffee after my New Year’s Eve party, here I was, ready for a flowery parade. As floats, bands, and equestrians marched, we were all cheering and feeling energized, exhilarated and happy. What a joyful and colorful Rose Parade!
2016 Theme: “Find your Adventure”
Every year the Pasadena Tournament of Roses® institutes a theme. In 2016, it was “Find your Adventure” to direct attention to the Centennial Celebration of National Parks. Pictures from this article dated from this period.
The Rose parade evolved significantly over the years. It started with decorated horse-drawn carriages and expanded to include motorized floats and marching bands.
Current float construction begins almost just after the previous year’s parade. Indeed, it is a long process to turn a concept into reality, working on fragile, various and complex mechanism and materials. Remember: every inch of the structure must be covered with flowers or natural elements like leaves.
They are mainly built by professional float building companies, only a portion is still accomplished by volunteers.
Floral-decorated floats, marching bands, and equestrian units.
Floral-decorated floats, marching bands, and equestrian units constituted the three types of entries of the parade.
The only car I saw was the Mayor of Pasadena as – at a few exceptions (Mayor of Pasadena, the Grand Marshall, the Rose Bowl Game Hall of Fame Inductees and the Tournament of Roses President) – motor vehicles are not authorized.
During the Rose Parade, I observed that the float’s representation spectrum was really wide: from cities like Los Angeles, Glendale, and Burbank to companies like Disney, Kaiser (Health), and banks or associations like churches, rotaries….
The 127th Rose Parade was formed by 44 floats and alternated marching bands and equestrians. It included floats representing the two college football teams competing after the show at the Rose Bowl. The Rose Queen and her court are also riding, acting as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses.
As I passed by Pasadena on December 31st, I noticed people on the sidewalk with chairs and blankets waiting. I thought:”maybe they are here for the new iPhone or maybe the new Star Wars movie?”. As I kept driving, lines continued and I realized people were waiting to be on the front row for the Rose Parade!
People are tailgating during the New Year eve with family and friends on the curbside. I have been told that with a hot beverage, food, and music the ambiance is super fun!
From there I understood that the Tournament of Roses became an institution over the years and goes beyond Pasadena City limits. Broadcasted in the United States and aboard, millions of people watch it!
What an amazing and spectacular show!
Happy New Year!
- Participate in the Rose Parade by volunteering to build the flower-covered floats.
- Grandstand seatings are available via Sharp Seating Company (prices starts at $55): http://store.sharpseating.com/merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=SFNT
- Free seating accessible with curbside viewing. As it’s based on first-come, first-served, people started to tailgate on the 31st. Be patient, grab a chair, hot drinks, food, and blanket!
- If you can’t assist the parade, there are a pre & post-Rose Parade showcases to see the decorating and backstage process or all the final floats (Cost: $15).
- The Rose Parade route is generally closed from December 31st to January 1st.
- For more information: https://www.tournamentofroses.com/events/rose-parade