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The Rose Parade, officially the Tournament of Roses Parade, is "America's New Year Celebration" held in Pasadena, California, a festival of flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians and the Rose Bowl college football game on New Year's Day (but moved to Monday if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, 14 times now), produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.
Originally started on January 1, 1890, the Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route, and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States. It is seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 200 international territories and countries. The Rose Bowl college football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade.
Beginning with the 2011 parade, Honda has been the sponsor of the "Rose Parade presented by Honda". Accordingly, Honda has the parade's first float, which like all floats, follows the parade's theme.
Members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club first staged the parade in 1890. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day, except when January 1 falls on a Sunday. In that case, it is held on the subsequent Monday, January 2. This exception was instituted in 1893. Local tradition has it that "the Tournament has a deal with God; we'll never hold the parade on a Sunday, and He'll never let it rain on the Rose Parade." However, according to the Tournament of Roses Association Web site, this "Never on Sunday" policy was instituted in order "to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services." Thus, the parade has never been held on a Sunday. Incidentally, the Rose Bowl Game is also not held on Sunday to avoid competing with the NFL. Other bowl games usually held on January 1 also follow this rule.
Many of the members of the Valley Hunt Club were former residents of the American East and Midwest. They wished to showcase their new California home's mild winter weather. At a club meeting, Professor Charles F. Holder announced, "In New York, people are buried in the snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise."
So the club organized horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers, followed by foot races, polo matches, and a game of tug-of-war on the town lot that attracted a crowd of 2,000 to the event. Upon seeing the scores of flowers on display, the professor decided to suggest the name "Tournament of Roses."
Over the next few founding years, marching bands and motorized floats were added. By 1895, the event was too large for the Valley Hunt Club to handle, hence the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association was formed. By the 11th annual tournament (1900), the town lot on which the activities were held was renamed Tournament Park, a large open area directly adjacent to Pasadena's world-famous institution of higher learning, Caltech. Activities soon included ostrich races, bronco busting demonstrations, and an odd novelty race between a camel and an elephant. (The elephant won the race.) Soon reviewing stands were built along the parade route and newspapers in Eastern Seaboard cities started to take notice of the event.
The stately Italian Renaissance-style mansion of William Wrigley Jr. (the maker of Wrigley's chewing gum) was offered to the city of Pasadena after Mrs. Wrigley's death in 1958, under the condition that their home would be the Rose Parade's permanent headquarters. Tournament House is the name given the former home where the organization is headquartered.
The first associated football game was played on January 1, 1902. Originally titled the "Tournament East-West football game," it is considered to be the first Rose Bowl. The next game was not played until New Year's Day 1916; they have been played annually since then. The game derives its modern name from Rose Bowl Stadium, which was built for the 1923 game.
In 2002 and 2006 (when the Rose Bowl Game was the BCS National Championship Game), the "Granddaddy of 'em all" was not held the same day as the parade; the 2006 game was played on January 4. Not all fans were pleased with the change; some thought the atmosphere and tradition of the Rose Bowl were lost. However, since the BCS title game is now separate from the host bowl, it no longer affects the date of the Rose Bowl Game (even when the title game returned to Pasadena in 2010).
The Tournament of Roses Parade has followed the same route mainly following Colorado Boulevard (Pasadena's main thoroughfare and a segment of the former US 66) for many decades. The day before the parade, the entire environs of the neighborhood streets south of the intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado Blvds. are sealed off and reserved for the marshaling of the dozens of floats, bands, equestrian units, and other elements. This staging area is referred to as the "Formation Area" and is managed by the Formation Area Committee.
On parade morning the various elements are merged and dispatched in front of Tournament House. The parade starts headed north on South Orange Grove Boulevard beginning at Ellis Street. At Colorado Boulevard it passes the main grandstands (and the main television and media stands) and proceeds east on Colorado Boulevard. The parade then turns north on Sierra Madre Boulevard. The floats then must travel under the Sierra Madre Boulevard/I-210 freeway overpass, requiring over-height floats to reduce their height. The parade ends at Paloma Street near Victory Park and Pasadena High School. Floats continue into the Post-Parade viewing area (which is open that afternoon and the following day). In total this route is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) long; the assembled bands, horse units and floats take approximately two hours to pass by.
The 2009 parade featured 46 floats, including some new entries, such as Jack in the Box's Jack-O-Licious, City of Mission Viejo's Making a Splash, RFD-TV's Hee Haw, and the City of Roseville's Entertaining Dreams for a Century.
The 2010 parade saluted the men and women serving America throughout the world with a flyover at the beginning of the parade by four F-18 jets (performed by pilots of the Fighting Redcocks of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 (VFA-22) from the Naval Air Station at Lemoore, California).
New floats that joined the 2011 Rose Parade were: Beverly Hills Tournament of Roses Committee, Cunard Line, Dole, Los Angeles County Firemen’s Benefit & Welfare: Never Forget 9/11 “Remember, Reflect, Renew”, UNO 40th Anniversary, "Messina Wildlife Management", Namco Bandai Games Inc., "Quikrete" Cement & Concrete Products, "Saving America’s Mustangs Foundation", and Shriner’s Hospitals For Children.
The 2012 Rose Parade had 43 floats, 21 bands and 18 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses. The honor for being the last units in the parade went to All American Cowgirl Chicks (Equestrian), Needham Broughton High School (Band), and RFD-TV (Float).
The 2013 parade featured 42 floats, 23 marching bands and 21 equestrian units. New for the 2013 Rose Parade were floats from Nurses' float "A Healing Place", Delta Sigma Theta, and the city of San Gabriel centennial float "Celebrating Our Journey". It began with the Wells Fargo/Opening Unit, American Honda's float, the U.S. Marine Corps's Mounted Color Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band. Farmers Insurance's "Love Float" featured the wedding of a Virginia couple, Nicole and Gerald of Chesapeake, VA, which was officiated by nationally syndicated radio personality Sean Valentine. The couple was selected through a first-ever public vote by the American people. The parade's closing unit featured Coco Jones of the Disney Channel.
Featured in the 2014 parade will be new floats from eHarmony, K9s4COPS, Public Storage and Sea World. Actor, director, writer, producer Garry Marshall will play the role of "director" on Burbank's "Lights...camera...action!" float. KC and the Sunshine Band will be featured on Stella Rosa Wine's "Stellabrate Good Times" float. Performing on the e-Harmony float will be Natalie Cole, singing “This Will Be”.
Originally the parade featured flower-decorated horse carriages. Over time, floats built by volunteers from sponsoring communities supplanted the carriages. Currently most are built by professional float building companies and take nearly a year to construct. Some communities and organizational sponsors still rely on volunteers. The Valley Hunt Club still enters a flower-decorated carriage. The Cal Poly Universities Rose Float still relies solely on students who volunteer.
Typically 48 to 72 hours prior to parade day, one can view several of the floats being decorated with flowery mantles in the various 'float barns' that dot the Arroyo Seco / Rose Bowl area in West Pasadena, not far from the start of the parade. It is a rule of the parade that all surfaces of the float framework must be covered in natural materials (such as flowers, plants, seaweeds, seeds, bark, vegetables, or nuts, for example); furthermore, no artificial flowers or plant material are allowed, nor can the materials be artificially colored. Last-minute volunteer opportunities are usually available.
Anaheim city's float at the 2008 Rose Parade included the Stanley Cup that the NHL's Anaheim Ducks had won last season, hoisted by player Brad May. (As the regulations state that the outside of the float must exclusively use organic material, ABC commentators speculated that the city got an exception to display the Cup.), also the Los Angeles Dodgers had a float in celebration of the franchise's 50th anniversary in Los Angeles.
The 2010 parade floats included the Boy Scouts of America's 100th Anniversary float, the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, and "Safety Harbor Kids". The 2010 parade also featured a 113-foot-long (34 m) float from Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Pet Foods, which set a Guinness world record for the longest single-chassis float. The City of West Covina paid tribute to the "service and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen" with a float entitled "Tuskegee Airmen – A Cut Above", which featured a large bald eagle, two replica World War II "Redtails" fighter planes, and historical images of some of the airmen who served our country. The float won the Mayor's trophy as the most outstanding city entry - national or international, also Anaheim, California float featured the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game that was played at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, four former MLB All-Stars, pitchers Mark Langston, Chuck Finley, and Troy Percival, along with second baseman Bobby Grich were aboard.
Since January 1, 2012, fell on a Sunday, tradition dictated that the parade would be held on Monday, January 2, 2012. The 2012 Rose Parade had 43 floats, featuring the LMU Centennial Celebration float, and the Girl Scouts of the USA 100th Anniversary float (entitled "What Will You Do Today?"). Float builder Fiesta Floats donated their services to the design of the Girl Scouts float, which was decorated by the organization's volunteers (of all ages). Paramount Pictures also participated in the 2012 parade with its centennial celebration float "100 Years of Movie Magic". Namco Bandai Games joined the parade for the first time, commemorating the Power Rangers. Others were Microsoft Kinect ("You are the Controller") and the Kit-Cat Klock ("Timeless Fun for Everyone").
The floats compete for one of 24 awards selected by three judges each year. The 2013 parade float judges were esteemed floral designer Shane Connolly, Macy's marketing executive and event producer Amy Kule, and Brian Sullivan, an executive with Southern California's Descanso Gardens. Since Honda became the title sponsor, its floats are not eligible to compete for an award.
After the parade the floats are parked at the end of the parade route on Sierra Madre Boulevard and Washington Boulevard, near Victory Park and are on display for a day and a half (two-and-a-half days when January 1 falls on Friday) after the parade. None of the float riders or dignitaries/celebrities involved in the parade are present, and animated features on some floats are not activated. Admission to the viewing area is $10 and children are admitted free.
From the beginning horses have played a part in the Rose Parade. Thousands of riders have made the trek down Colorado Boulevard. "The Tournament equestrian family grows bigger and stronger every year as it welcomes the new equestrians who come to share the magic of New Year's Day and appreciate the commitment to excellence and professionalism exhibited by the returning equestrian units to the parade," according to the Tournament of Roses.
Prior to the parade an "Equestfest" is held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to showcase the performances by the talented riding teams. Equestrian units taking part in "Equestfest" have included the Clydesdales of the First Cavalry Division from U.S. Army Fort Hood, "Traveler" (the USC mascot), the Sons and Daughters of the Reel West, and the California State Fire Fighters Association. Bob Eubanks and Shawn Parr have served as announcers at "Equestfest."
For the 2010 parade, there were 23 units: All American Cowgirl Chicks, Amigos de Anza Equestrian Drill Team, Arizona Mini Mystique Driving Drill Team, Benny Martinez Family, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Giddy Up Gals, L.A. County Sheriff - Mounted Enforcement, Long Beach Mounted Police, Medieval Times, The New Buffalo Soldiers, Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers, Region 1 Versatile Arabians, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, The Shire Riders, So Cal Peruvian Paso Horse Club, U.S. Army Ft. Hood - 1st Cavalry, USMC - Color Guard, USMC - Mountain Warfare Training, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo, and Western Haflinger Association.
The twenty-two equestrian units in the 2011 Rose Parade were the 1st Cavalry Fort Hood, All American Cowgirl Chicks, Benny Martinez Family, California State Firefighters’ Association, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Equine Extremist with Tommie Turvey, Giddy Up Gals Drill Team, Kern County Sheriffs Mounted Posse, Long Beach Mounted Police, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, New Buffalo Soldiers, Region One Arabians, Saving America's Mustangs Foundation, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club, Spirit of the West Riders, The Shire Riders, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo, and Wild West Willie (combined with Kern County Sheriffs Mounted Posse).
2012 Rose Parade Equestrians were the All American Cowgirl Chicks, Arizona Mini Mystique, Broken Horn Ropers, Calgary Stampede Showriders (riding with the Calgary Stampede Showband), Calizona Appaloosas, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Escondido Mounted Police, First Cavalry Fort Hood (US Army), Kings County Sheriff's Posse, LAPD Mounted Unit, Long Beach Mounted Police, Los Hermanos Banuelos, Medieval Times, Merced County Sheriff's Posse, New Buffalo Soldiers, The Santa Rosa Palomino Club, So Cal Peruvian Pasos, Spirit of the West, War Horse Militia, US Marine Corps, Valley Hunt Club, and Wells Fargo.
2013 Tournament of Roses Equestrians: 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, All American Cowgirl Chicks, Anaheim Police Department Mounted Enforcement Unit, Canadian Cowgirls Precision Drill Team, Costumed Arabians Region One, Hawaii Pa'u Riders, Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team, Jackson Fork Ranch Percherons, Long Beach Mounted Police, Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Medieval Times, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, ONDAR and the Eagles of Tuva, Prime Time Express Mounted Drill Team, Ramona Pageant, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, SD Farm, Spirit of the West Riders, Valley Hunt Club, Wells Fargo.
2014 Tournament of Roses Equestrians: All American Cowgirl Chicks, Budweiser Clydesdales, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team, Los Angeles Police Metropolitan Division Mounted Platoon/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Detail, The Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Spirit of the West Riders, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, War Horse Foundation, Wells Fargo. Equestfest will take place December 29, 2013.
Top marching bands from all over the world are invited. Many of the nation's top high school marching bands, along with college and organizational marching bands participate.
The bands participating in the parade have also developed traditions. For example, Pasadena City College's Lancer Marching Band always marches in the Rose Parade, along with high school bands such as the esteemed Arcadia High School and color guard members from all over Southern California, who are selected by audition the previous autumn. The Tournament of Roses Honor Band is a coveted position, and those selected are among the best student musicians in California. Nine of the high school trumpet players, selected by performance on their auditions, and the best snare drummer, are selected as the Herald Trumpets, who march directly before the Rose Queen's float and play fanfares.
University Marching bands from the two schools participating in the Rose Bowl are invited to march in the parade. They typically accompany the float that represents the school and conference.
Bands that have a long standing arrangement to be in the parade include:
In 1998, the Washington Township High School Minutemen Marching Band from Sewell, New Jersey became the first band in the history of the Rose Parade to decorate its entire ranks with live flowers, in keeping with the practice of decorating the parade floats.
Additional to the parade, the bands participate in a two day, three shows Bandfest at Pasadena City College's Robinson Stadium, usually take place on December 29 and 30 each year (December 30 and 31, 2011).
The newly elected President of the Tournament of Roses has the duty of picking a theme for the forthcoming festivities. Most of the floral floats in the parade are inspired by this theme.
On January 17, 2013, R. Scott Jenkins was confirmed as President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. He announced that the theme for the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game is Dreams Come True.
The Grand Marshal of the parade is an honorary position selected by the president of the Tournament. Many are picked for a relationship to the theme that is also picked by the president.
Vin Scully was chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 2014 parade and Rose Bowl Game. Previously, President Sally Bixby named Jane Goodall as the Grand Marshal for the 2013 parade, succeeding J. R. Martinez, the 2012 grand marshal.
Food Network star Paula Deen was the Grand Marshal of the 2011 parade. Captain Chesley Sullenberger was the 2010 Grand Marshal and actress Cloris Leachman served as the 2009 Grand Marshal, the 10th female grand marshal in the history of the parade. Mary Pickford was the first female Grand Marshal. Other Hollywood celebrities appeared as Grand Marshal are Leo Carrillo, Harold Lloyd, Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Bob Hope.
Repeat Marshals of the Tournament of Roses Parade
Each year, a selection process is held in late September and early October to find out which Pasadena-area girls (ages 17 to 21) will have the honor of being crowned Queen of the Tournament, or one of the members of her "Royal Court". Each year more than 1000 girls try out. Six princesses and one queen are chosen. The winners then ride on a float in the parade, and carry out duties in promotion of the Tournament, mainly during its duration and prelude. Their duties include attending over one hundred and fifty events in the Pasadena area. They usually receive scholarships and extensive wardrobes; the 2005 Court also received a Mikimoto pearl necklace. During the time that they attend Tournament events, usually from October to January, each girl attends school a few times a week for a few hours at a time. One Tree Hill actress Sophia Bush was Queen in 2000.
Ana Marie Acosta of Polytechnic School was crowned 2014 Rose Parade Queen on October 24, 2013 during the Coronation Ceremony. Other members of 2014 Royal Court are Sarah Hansen, Pasadena City College; Kayla Johnson-Granberry; Pasadena High School; Jamie Kwong, La Salle High School; Katherine Lipp, La Cañada High School; Elyssia Widjaja, San Marino High School; and Elizabeth Woolf, La Cañada High School.
More recent attendance figures are followed by the TV and predicted attendance in parentheses. Most estimates are conducted by the Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena Police Department. Number of studies were conducted by the Anderson School of Management at UCLA on attendance and economic impact to Southern California. The Los Angeles Times ran a study in 1980 that said the actual attendance at the parade was actually about 60% of what is claimed each year.
The parade is televised on ABC, NBC, Univision (in Spanish), HGTV, Hallmark Channel, RFD TV, and KTLA (the latter three offer interruption-free coverage, although KTLA continues to repeat the parade throughout the day with commercials). WGN-TV in Chicago carried KTLA's uninterrupted coverage of the 2009 parade (WGN and KTLA are both owned by Tribune Broadcasting). Until 2005, the parade was also broadcast on CBS, and KTTV also televised the parade for many years until 1995. ABC serves as the official broadcaster of the parade, and its sister network ESPN currently airs the Rose Bowl.
Each year, the newly elected president announces the following year's Theme in January and chooses a Grand Marshal during the year. Preparation and construction of the floral floats theoretically begins after the Theme is announced. The selection of marching bands is already well under way except for Rose Bowl participant bands which aren't selected until 4 weeks before the parade. In 2005, Libby Evans Wright was elected as the first female president of the Association.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses appointed former Los Angeles Times executive P. Scott McKibben as its executive director in 2010, replacing John M. (Mitch) Dorger, who had served as CEO since 2000. On September 8, 2011, he resigned for personal reasons. Chief operating officer William B. Flinn was named interim executive director.
Effective March 1, 2012, William B. Flinn took over the role of executive director.
The Tournament of Roses has become such a large event that it requires 65,000 hours of combined manpower each year, or the equivalent of roughly 7.42 years of combined manpower. Fortunately for the Association, the group has 935 members, each of whom is assigned to one of 34 committees, and around 50 student ambassadors. Responsibilities include:
During the Parade, many Tournament members are required to wear white suits with red ties, name tags, membership pins and official ribbons. Because of this, the volunteers are commonly referred to as "White Suiters." In December each year, a fleet of white vehicles with special "ToR" license plates are seen throughout the San Gabriel Valley. The use of these cars is currently donated by American Honda for use by high-ranking Tournament members.
Each year, an honor troop of Eagle Scouts from the San Gabriel Valley Council, and "The Tournament Troop" of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients of the Arcadia Service Unit of the Girl Scouts Greater Los Angeles, is selected to carry the parade banners down the route. Each year, for the last 35 years, more than 100 scouts have participated.
The Tournament of Roses Radio Amateurs (TORRA) provided audio communications and video co-ordination for the parade officials through the use of Amateur radio from 1968 until 2005. With over 300 ham radio operators in TORRA there were several ham radio sites along the parade route equipped with amateur television as well as 2-way ham radios. Several mobile units - including motorcycles and pedestrian units (creepie-peepies) provided the video coverage. With modern technology and cell phone service, TORRA was no longer needed.
Thousands more volunteers help cover the floats in those beautiful flower and seed mixes during "Deco week," Dec 26- parade day. Many of these come back year after year, some even camp nearby to help all week long.
For the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2 (it is always held on January 2 when January 1 falls on a Sunday) winds with gusts up to 45 mph (72 km/h) and five inches (130 mm) of rain in the Pasadena area were predicted. The forecast proved accurate, ruining the 51 year record of good weather for the parade. It rained continuously and heavily throughout the entire 2006 parade. The President of the Tournament, the Grand Marshal of the Parade and the executive committee, deliberated into the early morning at the Tournament House. With street rumors circulating of the parade being canceled or postponed and restlessness of the crowd further east along the parade route, the parade got underway despite the bleak weather. Low television ratings and poor attendance plagued the ceremony. Some floats sustained water damage by the end of the parade.
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