Did you know that the 2012 Rose Parade will be held on Jan. 2, 2012 instead of Jan. 1? Since New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, the 123rd Rose Parade will take place on January 2nd for the first time ever.
This uniquely American event began as a promotional effort by Pasadena’s distinguished Valley Hunt Club. In the winter of 1890, club members brainstormed ways to promote the “Mediterranean of the West.” They invited their former East Coast neighbors to a mid-winter holiday, where they could watch games such as chariot races, jousting, foot races, polo and tug-of-war under the warm California sun. The abundance of fresh flowers, even in the midst of winter, prompted the club to add another showcase for Pasadena’s charm: a parade would precede the competition, where entrants would decorate their carriages with hundreds of blooms.
The parade route is 5 miles long and takes about 2 hours. It starts at 8:00 AM on South Orange Grove Boulevard at Ellis Street and proceeds north, then east on Colorado Boulevard to Sierra Madre Boulevard, and north on Sierra Madre Boulevard to Villa Street. This year the parade’s theme is “Just Imagine…”
This year’s Grand Marshal is current “Dancing With the Stars” champion, retired soldier, actor and spokesman, J.R. Martinez. His duties also include tossing the coin before the Big 98th Tournament of Roses Game, Wisconsin vs Oregon.
The Rose Parade features three types of entries: floral floats entered by a participating corporation or community organization; equestrian units; and marching bands. The only cars that appear in the Rose Parade are those that carry the Grand Marshal, the Mayor of Pasadena, the Rose Bowl Game Hall of Fame Inductees and the Tournament of Roses President.
Rose Parade Queen and Court
Hundreds of young women in the Pasadena area strive to attain each year. Candidates must be between 17 and 21 years of old and be enrolled at a school within the boundaries of the Pasadena Community College district. This year, roughly 1,000 young women applied, and out of the group 34 finalists were selected.
This year’s rose parade Queen is Drew Washington. Drew is the 16-year-old captain of the varsity volleyball and track and field teams at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy in La Canada Flintridge. The Royal Court includes Sarah Zuno, Hanan Worku, Cynthia Louie, Kimberly Ostiller, Stephanie Hynes and Morgan Eliza Devaud.
Would you like to decorate a float? Want to experience the magic of helping with the finishing touches of the magnificent floats? The general public can help decorate some of the beautiful floats in their last stages. You can purchase advanced tickets from Sharp tickets or at the door. Tickets are $10 but children under 5 get in free.
You’re probably thinking of driving. If you actually do that, consider the parking. Parking can be a nightmare. You can park in residential areas but be prepared for a walk. You can also pay anywhere between $10 and $25 and park close up to the parade route in private lots – these require cash, so don’t forget the green.
Better yet, let someone else drive. Certain communities throughout LA are planning bus trips, like the one from Agoura Hills – the $85 ticket includes a round trip bus ride from Agoura Hills and a seat at the parade. The Big Blue Bus Line in Santa Monica will offer round trip transportation from the Westside and Santa Monica for $40.
You can also take Metro Rail’s Gold Line: The Del Mar, Memorial Park, Lake and Allen stations are all just a short walk from the parade route.
Many local businesses in Pasadena host viewing parties, like this family-friendly event that starts at 3:00 AM at Magical Playground: $20 per person includes seating on Colorado Blvd, admission into Magical Playground, hot cocoa/coffee, cots for the kids to sleep on, and more! (An extra $60 gets you a parking spot in the back lot). For tickets call (626) 683-8989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to enjoy the parade in style? Grandstand seating for the Rose Parade is available through Sharp Seating Company, the official Grandstand Seating Provider, (626) 795-4171. Every person, regardless of age, must have a ticket to sit in the grandstands. However, if a child is two years of age or younger he/she may sit on an adult’s lap. If not seated on an adult’s lap, each child must have a ticket.
There are four areas to sit in the grandstands and they each vary in price from $45.00 to $90.00 based on the section of the parade route that you select.
If you are planning on camping out (yes, people actually do this in order to get the best viewing spots on the street!) here are some tips:
Overnight camping is permitted only on the night before the parade. Do not arrive before noon the day before the parade. Overnight parking on streets adjacent to the parade route begins January 1 at noon, for that evening only. Be aware of posted parking criteria; parking regulations will be enforced.
Bring plenty of blankets, sleeping bags and pillows. You are also allowed to bring a small barbecue. You may not bring tents or start any form of bonfire.
Tips for Attending
Layer up- the high for January 2 is supposed to be in the high 70’s. Dress in layers so that you can easily remove a layer or two when it starts to warm up. If you’re bringing little ones it is smart to also bring scarves, gloves, a blanket and mittens
If you are light sensitive make sure to sit on the west side of the street. Bring plenty of water and snacks. If you have little ones- bring them along in a wagon and store your supplies in the wagon.
Post Parade and showcase of floats
Can’t make it to the parade but would like still like to view the floats close up and personal? The Showcase of Floats allows you to get as close to your favorite float as you possibly can after the parade at the end of the route on Sierra Madre Blvd. Crowds will be smaller if you can arrive immediately when they open on the morning after the parade. Use a park and ride location to avoid parking problems, as parking surrounding the Showcase of floats is extremely limited.
Jan. 2nd, 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Jan. 3rd, 7:00 – 9:00 AM – Special Assistance viewing, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, regular hours
*Ticket sales end at 3:00 PM, venue closes at 5:00 PM
Free for children five and under
Any Questions? The Pasadena Visitors Bureau operates a hotline for questions about all the Tournament of Roses events and the phones are staffed around the clock during this time. With a Twitter feed, a Facebook page, and a smartphone app in place, they’ve got you covered!
Aracely Worley is a veteran attendee of the Rose Parade. She publishes the blog DayTripping Mom.