The Rose Parade
There is nothing like a good parade. And nothing like the Rose Parade. For over 100 years, the Rose Parade, held in Pasadena, has dazzled like nothing before. Its incredible floats made up of flowers and organic materials create a spectacle like you have not seen in other parades. Here are some of our favorite things about this unique parade held every New Years Day.
All of the floats are decorated with flowers and organic materials. They take up to a year to plan and execute. Entire design teams get together to create these beautiful masterpieces. 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. Approximately 18 million flowers are used on all of the floats together. That is quite the bouquet. If you can’t make it to the parade, you can still view the floats in the days that follow at a special viewing area (but they do get a bit droopy by the 3rd day!)
The top marching bands in the world are invited to participate in the parade. The Nation’s top high school and college bands all participate to make it a fun and fantastic and musical event. Every year, there is also an honor band which is made up of 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. And, of course, there are the bands from the schools who are participating in the annual Rose Bowl football game later that afternoon. You will hear fight songs and get caught up in the joy of the moment.
The Rose Court
No parade is complete without a Queen and her court. And this fantastic parade does not disappoint! Every year from September to October more than 1000 Pasadena area girls between the ages of 17-21 try out for the opportunity to be the Queen or on her Court. Out of this massive number – seven girls are chosen (6 princess and 1 queen). Not only do they ride in a float on the parade but they also carry out several other duties to promote the Tournament of Roses which includes over 100 events. It is quite an honor to be chosen especially since it comes with scholarships and an extensive wardrobe (and wait until you see the dresses!). One year, actress Sophia Bush (of One Tree Hill fame) was crowned Queen. Talk about Hollywood royalty.
The Grand Marshal
Every year, the Tournament of Roses President is tasked with the responsibility of honoring a well known figure with the title of Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade. They try to keep with the theme of the event itself. Many people cheered Louis Zamperini last year. Other Grand Marshal’s have been Shirley Temple, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Johny Wayne Bob Hope, Cloris Leachman and Walt Disney. This year, director Ken Burns will be on the Marshall’s float. It is always really great to see so many well known and well loved people come out and support the parade in such a big way.