Monday, January 4, 2010

Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade

Some of the pre-parade activity.
(top) Nanc gives the "queen" wave to the crowd as the bus drives down Colorado Ave.
A band & equestrian group preparing to march.
A vendor works the crowd.
(bottom) The parade route an hour before the start.
SKPs parade down the street.
High wheel bikers.
Grand Marshal Sulley Sullenberger
Burgettstown's Union High School Class of 1964 alumni and Rose Bowl Game Hall of Fame Inductee Barry Alvarez (right rear).
Several of the equestrian units with essential back up.
The FA-18F flyover and the Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band
A close up of the Cal Poly float after the parade. View what it looked like 48 hours earlier in the previous post.
Close ups of some of the fantastic floral work.
Bottom middle is the branch we decorated :)
A close look at one of our favorites, "Jewel of the Pacific"

While watching the Rose Parade as juniors in high school, my cousin Sandy and I decided we would go to the parade when we were seniors. Little did I know that for me it would be when I was a senior (citizen) 46 years later. It was worth the wait!!! Once again, we were on the road at 6:30 AM and as we approached Pasadena lanes of the freeway were closed to park the horse trailers and band buses. We were happy when the bus actually turned down Colorado Boulevard and dropped us off within a half block of our seats. The streets were lined with thousands of people while others walked, jogged, rode bikes and sold souvenirs in the middle of the street. To get an idea just how big the parade is, it started on time at 8AM and the pace car passed our spot a little after nine. Leading the way was the Grand Marshal, the Hero of the Hudson, US Airways pilot Captain Sully Sullenberger. From there it continued to get better with 41 floats, 22 bands and 22 equestrian groups accompanied by an equal number of pooper scoopers. The ones following the Arizona Mini Mystiques surely had the easiest job. There were additional cars carrying various dignitaries including the 2009 Rose Bowl Game Hall of Fame inductees. To my surprise, riding in that car was my high school classmate, Barry Alvarez, former Wisconsin football coach and current athletic director. Seeing all the floats with sooooo many beautiful plants and flowers being used in so many creative ways was, of course, the highlight. Having the chance to do just a small bit of work on one of the floats really gave us a better understanding of how much goes into each float. It is hard to pick a favorite because they were all so spectacular. Of course, we are a little biased toward the China Air Guardian of Taiwan float since it was the one we helped decorate. I am trying something different with the photos this time with a link here to a web album of all the floats. We loved ever aspect of the parade, including the FA-18F flyover by the The Fighting Redcoats of the US Navy. We could go on and on, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, we have already said too much.

Our day was not over after the parade ended, as we boarded the bus and headed to the float viewing area to get an up close look. Getting really close allows you to see the detailed work that goes into this parade. We think we saw the exact branch we worked on when we were decorating:) Overall, the parade and the HOP gets an A++. This is a great way to see all the events related to the parade without the hassles of driving the LA freeways.

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