PASADENA ( — It’s that time of year again, when florists, designers and volunteers race against the clock to put the finishing touches on floats for the annual Rose Parade.

The theme for the 126th annual Tournament of Roses Parade is “Inspirational Stories,” which is something many of the volunteers involved with preparing floats have in abundance.

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Olympian Cliff Meidl nearly lost his legs digging, but on Thursday, he will ride on the Dig Alert float, not just because he survived, but because he thrived. Meidl competed on two Olympic teams in kayaking, a sport in which his legs weren’t needed.

“I was working a construction site, operating a jack hammer and ended up jack hammering into some energized power lines,” Meidl said. “I was very hurt after I had my accident, you know, emotionally, and I needed to get something into somewhere I could channel my energy out and my brother introduced me to canoe paddling.”

The city of Pasadena is in full preparation mode for the annual even that draws hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country to the San Gabriel Valley for the annual New Year’s Day spectacle.

The Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau began operating its “Visitors Hotline” Monday to provide information for residents and tourists in town for the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade about local attractions and rules for attending the parade on Colorado Boulevard.

The hotline – (877) 793-9911 – will operate until 5 p.m. Monday, then 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. More than 60 volunteers will staff the hotline, providing information about events surrounding the football game and parade, post-parade events and New Year’s Eve activities.

Pasadena city officials issued key rules for spectators hoping to win prime viewing spots for Thursday’s parade:

Overnight camping is permitted only on Wednesday night.
People can begin grabbing positions along the parade route beginning at noon Wednesday. People and their belongings must remain on the curb until 11 p.m. Wednesday, when spectators can then move out to the blue “honor line.”

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Small, professionally made barbecues that are at least one foot off the ground are permitted along the parade route as long as they are 25 feet from other buildings or other combustibles. A fire extinguisher must be available at all times.

People under age 18 can be on the parade route from 10 p.m. to Wednesday to 5 a.m. Thursday only if they are supervised by an adult.

The weather is expected to be cold, so spectators are urged to dress appropriately and drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.

Spectators should report any suspicious activity, and call 911 in emergencies. For non-emergencies, police can be reached at (626) 744-4241.

Police say no drones or other remote-controlled aircraft are permitted on the parade route from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. No tents, sofas or boxes that can be used as stools or seats are allowed, and unoccupied chairs will be removed from the parade route.

Bonfires, fireworks and horns are prohibited, along with smoking and open containers of alcohol.

City officials also advised residents to avoid buying food from unauthorized vendors, noting that people should see or ask for a health permit from vendors to ensure they are legitimate.

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