PASADENA (CBSLA.com/AP) — The flower-drenched 127th Rose Parade rolled with few hitches Friday under cloudless blue skies to the delight of hundreds of thousands of fans, some of whom camped out all night on sidewalks determined not to let security fears get in the way of their fun.
According to the FBI, the precautionary measures taken to increase patrols were enforced after authorities received a terrorism threat Thursday, targeting Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and New York.
While there are no known credible threats to Pasadena or the parade, officers were armed with AR-15 rifles as a precaution along the 5 1/2-mile route, according to the Pasadena Police Department.
More than two dozen federal agencies — including the Secret Service, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, Coast Guard and Federal Emergency Management Agency — coordinated with the Pasadena Police Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department and California Highway Patrol to secure the event.
According to Mark Selby, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles and the federal coordinator for the Rose Parade and Bowl security, security plans involved “an unprecedented volume of resources and technologies.”
Federal personnel planned to use a variety of explosives-detection methods across the city ranging from bomb-sniffing dogs to devices that register even minute amounts of radiation, according to Selby.
Multiple tactical teams are on standby to support local police in the event of an incident.
The parade kicked off at 8 a.m. and consisted of 44 floats, 19 equestrian groups and 19 marching bands.
The temperature at the start of the annual New Year’s Day pageant in Pasadena barely topped 40 degrees but spectators shed layers as the sun lit up dozens of bright floats featuring characters and settings woven with roses, carnations and other flowers.
The theme of this year’s parade, “Find Your Adventure,” was inspired by the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. The grand marshal was documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who produced the Emmy-award winning series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
A losing record didn’t stop the Los Angeles Lakers from entering a float titled “Every Second is an Adventure,” ridden by team legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Paula Abdul, a former member of the Laker Girls dance squad.
The massive Disney entry featured a Star Wars theme complete with stormtroopers on one end and characters from the animated hit “Frozen” on the other. It won the Extraordinaire Trophy for most spectacular float — one of several awards given to the massive works of art that thrilled spectators along Colorado Boulevard.
“The Bachelor” television series float depicting a romantic date on an exotic beach also drew big cheers from the crowd and won the President’s Award for most effective use of flowers.
The India Punjab float got people moving to its Bollywood beat. It was followed by whooping and hollering by a mounted unit from the U.S. Army’s 1st Cavalry Division.
Overhead, a squadron of sky-writing planes scrawled anti-Donald Trump messages but few people seemed to be looking away from the floats. A gentle Santa Ana wind carried the aroma of sizzling bacon-wrapped hot dogs down the boulevard.
Enthusiastic fans began lining the parade route Thursday. Many sipped hot cocoa and were equipped with portable heaters, blankets and sleeping bags to stay warm as overnight temperatures dipped to the mid-30s.
Their numbers were expected to swell to more than 700,000 for the annual parade that served as a kick-off to the 102nd Rose Bowl football game between Iowa and Stanford.
It was the final parade broadcast for longtime TV hosts Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards, who have described the colorful floats and parade participants for more than 30 years. Eubanks, 77, and Edwards, 72, thanked fans and their broadcast crews as they signed off for the last time and passed the torch to Leeza Gibbons and Mark Steines, who will take over next year.
The parade concluded at Villa Street before the 102nd Rose Bowl football game was held at 2 p.m., event coordinators said.
Officials warned Rose Bowl game spectators that a number of items would not be allowed inside the stadium, including banners, large beverage containers and drones.
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