The official name of this annual holiday event is Tournament of Roses Parade. The floats are not just ordinary constructions, rather they are covered in flowers. Even if you canít be in Pasadena, California, in person to see the floats, there is national and international television coverage.
January 1, 1890 saw the first parade. An interesting fact is that the Rose Parade is never held on Sundays. If January first falls on a Sunday the parade date is moved to January second. 2012 was one of those years the parade was the second instead of the first of January. One of the reasons to go to the 2nd is so that the parade and professional football games do not conflict.
Year after year the parade follows the same dependable five and a half mile route in Pasadena, beginning at 8 A.M. on Ellis Street, heading north on South Orange Grove Boulevard to Colorado Boulevard, and finishing at Pasadena High School.
If you are traveling from out of town here are driving directions to Pasadena: From north of Los Angeles take the Rt. 101 freeway south, pass by the Rt. 405 interchange and continue east on Rt. 134 to Pasadena. From San Diego and points south, go north on Rt. 405 and then take Rt. 110 north to Pasadena. (1)
The parade includes more than 40 floats, following a different theme each year. Also in the parade are equestrian displays. Marching bands from far and wide are invited to participate, with great honor given to being selected for the Tournament of Roses Honor Band.
There is a sequence of videos of past parade floats to click on at the foot of the Tournament of Roses information page listed in the next paragraph. Marching bands inspire me the most of all the offerings, but that is certainly a personal preference - perhaps since I play several musical instruments I feel most in-tune with them.
Many people camp out ahead of time on the sidewalk along the parade route, but if you want tickets to sit in one of the several grand stands go to the information page.
(1) Rand McNally Road Atlas for driving route.
Article by Susan Helene Kramer; photo credit and thank you to Brent Fultz: Thailand Float 1998 Rose Parade - Neptuneís chariot under the sea. Image used with permission from website - http://www.its.caltech.edu/~matsci/btf/Rose98/Thailand.html
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