The Rose Parade – Pasadena

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

P1030101The Rose Parade – Pasadena

When you grow up and live in the Pasadena area for most of your 60 years, there is no way to escape going to the Rose Parade. Believe me, I know! I’m not sure exactly how many Rose Parades I’ve been to in my life, but I am certain the number now exceeds 25. I am not a “parade guy,” but I must admit the Rose Parade “wows” me just about every year I have attended it. I also figure our property values don’t drop as much as the national average since millions of viewers who are hunkered down in snowstorms across the nation witness our New Year’s weather out here and move. This year the weather was once again perfect!

We had not planned on going to the Rose Parade this year, but our friends Burt and Paula invited us to go with them along with Paula’s sister Jane, and although sleeping in sounded good, there’s no way to turn down a free ticket to the Rose Parade. As an added bonus, they had great seats at the beginning of the parade, so Tracy and I thankfully accepted their generous offer.

P1030039This year (2012) the parade was on January 2, since the 1st was on a Sunday, and Pasadena has the “Never On Sunday” rule for the parade and the game. This policy was instituted in order “to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services.”  The joke around here is that Rose Parade and Rose Bowl officials have a pact with God. If they don’t have the parade and game on Sunday, God will provide great weather every year.  For the most part, the weather on New Years Day (or the 2nd) has always been fantastic.  I only remember a couple of days that it ever rained on the parade.

P1020984As for this year, well, it was another perfect day in paradise with temperatures in the 60s by midway through the parade and reaching the 80s by game time. The mountains looked like you could reach out and touch them.

P1020982To get to our secret, free parking spot near the start of the parade (I could tell you where it is, but I would have to kill you), we must arrive before 6 a.m. (the parade starts promptly at 8). After getting through security, we enjoy walking down Orange Grove and looking at the floats close up.

P1020993Not only do you get the great fragrance of the floats as you walk close by, but the walking keeps you warm in those early morning hours, although this year it was incredibly mild even at that early hour.

P1020985Tracy hit me beside the head so I would see there were some Marines on horseback with a stunning sunrise coming up behind them. What a great way to start the day!

P1020991As we wandered further and further down Orange Grove, we got a close-up view of the floats and then walked by the old Wrigley Mansion that doubles as Rose Parade headquarters.

P1020992                                         P1030003
We meandered by Mt. Rushmore.  When you see these floats, it’s hard to believe they are all made from flowers.

P1020999                                                P1020998

We wished both Oregon and Wisconsin fans good luck in the game (which I have been to more than the parade in my lifetime), although truth be told, I wanted Oregon to whip their butts.

P1020996                                        P1030002

After seeing a couple of giant dinosaurs, it was time to get in our seats, and fortunately I bypassed the movable hot dog stand.  As a Rose Parade veteran, you want to steer clear of the Porta Potties if at all possible, and consuming an early morning dog could have been a fatal mistake.

P1030012                 P1030028
During the first few minutes of the parade comes one of the fantastic highlights of the day. The B-2 Stealth bomber flies overhead, and on this morning “overhead” really meant right over our heads. I don’t know why I feel liking singing the Batman theme every time I see it.

P1030042                                        P1030043

The Grand Marshall of the 2012 parade was J.R. Martinez, a former Army infantryman who was injured in Iraq and suffered burns over 40% of his body. You might also know him as the fan favorite from Dancing With The Stars, a show I thankfully have never seen.

P1030053The Wells Fargo stagecoaches came by early in the parade, and I half-expected an Occupy The Rose Parade protestor to jump out, but this is Southern California, so our protesters are pretty laid back and were probably grabbing a latte.

P1030055Soon afterward, the Trader Joe’s float appeared, and it made me happy to know that all the money I have spent on frozen Gnocchi and other TJ items has gone to a worthwhile project.

P1030061Then the Rose Parade Queen came by riding on a Macy’s float. I wondered if the Queen and her court got 40% off plus an extra ten percent with a Macy’s card for their dresses. I think sometimes Macy’s actually pays me to buy their items.

P1030066Next up was a float by the Odd Fellows. I assumed that must be a bunch of my college buddies, but I guess there is an organization by that name.

P1030067More floats passed by including Mt. Rushmore, which I had seen on the walk-by earlier. I should have looked up before, but I guess I didn’t have my “Eagle” eye.

P1030075The theme for the 2012 Rose Parade was “Just Imagine,” so there were a lot of whimsical floats.

P1030081                P1030082

You know you’re in Southern California when you see a cool float that had pooches surfing. I had left the television on at home, so I was hoping that my dogs were looking so they could learn how to “Hang 20.”

P1030092The Discover Card float won an award, but sadly had broken down before the parade and forced to be towed. Ironically, the towing company didn’t take Discover.

P1030094And I did really like the “When Pigs Fly” float, even though I hear it was a Pork Project.

P1030102No matter how much you love the parade, about three quarters of the way through it it’s time for a nap, like these ladies from the University of Oregon who sat in the row in front of us.

P1030109We always enjoy the floats from the smaller towns like this one from the nearby city of Alhambra.

P1030097By the way, the best marching band this year was the Kyoto Tachibana H.S. Green Band from Japan. They were so good, I didn’t even take a picture of them.

P1030111Finally the dinosaurs and Roy Rogers went by (yes, I’m a Roy Rogers’ fan, and the parade was celebrating his 100th birthday), and we knew it was time to go.


Every year I say I’m not going to go back to the parade (too early, too cold, etc.), which means there’s always about a 50-50 chance that I will change my mind before New Years Day rolls around.

P1030087We had dared to go where no one (okay millions) had gone before.

P1030108The Rose Parade is a great event, and if you ever have the chance, you really should try to attend one…

P1020994…just like this guy!

P1030026The Rose Parade  •  Pasadena, California

Comments are closed.