Rose Parade

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File:TOR New Orleans float.jpg
A float from the 2008 Rose Parade

The Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Parade presented by Honda, is part of "America's New Year Celebration" held in Pasadena, California each year on New Year's Day (or on Monday, January 2 if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday). The parade includes flower-covered floats, marching bands, and equestrian units and is followed by the Rose Bowl college football game. It is produced by the nonprofit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association.

Originally started on January 1, 1890, the Rose Parade is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route,[1] and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States. It is seen by millions more on television worldwide in more than 100 international territories and countries.[2] The Rose Bowl is a college football game that was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade.[3] Since 2011, the parade has been sponsored by Honda.[4] Accordingly, the company has the parade's first float, which like all floats, follows the parade's theme.


Members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club first staged the parade in 1890. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day, except when January 1 falls on a Sunday. In that case, it is held on the subsequent Monday, January 2. This exception was instituted in 1893. Local tradition has it that "the Tournament has a deal with God; we'll never hold the parade on a Sunday, and He'll never let it rain on the Rose Parade." However, according to the Tournament of Roses Association Web site, this "Never on Sunday" policy was instituted in order "to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches and thus interfering with worship services." Thus, the parade has never been held on a Sunday. Incidentally, the Rose Bowl Game is also not held on Sunday to avoid competing with the NFL. Other bowl games usually held on January 1 also follow this rule, as does the NHL Winter Classic.

Many of the members of the Valley Hunt Club were former residents of the American East and Midwest. They wished to showcase their new California home's mild winter weather. At a club meeting, Professor Charles F. Holder announced, "In New York, people are buried in the snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise."

So the club organized horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers, followed by foot races, polo matches, and a game of tug-of-war on the town lot that attracted a crowd of 2,000 to the event. Upon seeing the scores of flowers on display, the professor decided to suggest the name "Tournament of Roses."

File:Pasadena Tournament of Roses chariot race, 1911 (CHS-309).jpg
A Chariot Race during the 1908 or 1911 Tournament of Roses; later replaced by the Rose Bowl Game

Over the next few founding years, marching bands and motorized floats were added. By 1895, the event was too large for the Valley Hunt Club to handle, hence the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association was formed. By the 11th annual tournament (1900), the town lot on which the activities were held was renamed Tournament Park, a large open area directly adjacent to Pasadena's world-famous institution of higher learning, Caltech. Activities soon included ostrich races, bronco busting demonstrations, and an odd novelty race between a camel and an elephant. (The elephant won the race.) Soon reviewing stands were built along the parade route and newspapers in Eastern Seaboard cities started to take notice of the event.

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Tournament House

The stately Italian Renaissance-style mansion of William Wrigley Jr. (the maker of Wrigley's chewing gum) was offered to the city of Pasadena after Mrs. Wrigley's death in 1958, under the condition that their home would be the Rose Parade's permanent headquarters. Tournament House is the name given the former home where the organization is headquartered.[5]

The first associated football game was played on January 1, 1902. Originally titled the "Tournament East-West football game," it is considered to be the first Rose Bowl. The next game was not played until New Year's Day 1916; they have been played annually since then. The game derives its modern name from Rose Bowl Stadium, which was built for the 1923 game.

In 2002 and 2006 (when the Rose Bowl Game was the BCS National Championship Game), the "Granddaddy of 'em all" was not held the same day as the parade; the 2006 game was played on January 4. Not all fans were pleased with the change; some thought the atmosphere and tradition of the Rose Bowl were lost. Once the BCS title game was separated from the host bowl, it no longer affected the date of the Rose Bowl Game (even when the title game returned to Pasadena in 2010 and 2014).


A close-up of roses used to create a parade float

The Tournament of Roses Parade has followed the same route mainly following Colorado Boulevard (Pasadena's main thoroughfare and a segment of the former US 66) for many decades. The day before the parade, the entire environs of the neighborhood streets south of the intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado Blvds. are sealed off and reserved for the marshaling of the dozens of floats, bands, equestrian units, and other elements. This staging area is referred to as the "Formation Area" and is managed by the Formation Area Committee.

On parade morning the various elements are merged and dispatched in front of Tournament House. The parade starts headed north on South Orange Grove Boulevard beginning at Green Street. At Colorado Boulevard it passes the main grandstands (and the main television and media stands) and proceeds east on Colorado Boulevard. The parade then turns north on Sierra Madre Boulevard.[6] The floats then must travel under the Sierra Madre Boulevard/I-210 freeway overpass, requiring over-height floats to reduce their height. The parade ends at Paloma Street near Victory Park and Pasadena High School. Floats continue into the Post-Parade viewing area (which is open that afternoon and the following day). In total this route is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) long; the assembled bands, horse units and floats take approximately two hours to pass by.

Recent parades

The 2009 parade featured 46 floats, including some new entries, such as Jack in the Box's Jack-O-Licious, City of Mission Viejo's Making a Splash, RFD-TV's Hee Haw, and the City of Roseville's Entertaining Dreams for a Century.

The 2010 parade saluted the men and women serving America throughout the world with a flyover at the beginning of the parade by four F-18 jets (performed by pilots of the Fighting Redcocks of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 (VFA-22) from the Naval Air Station at Lemoore, California).

New floats that joined the 2011 Rose Parade were: Beverly Hills Tournament of Roses Committee, Cunard Line, Dole, Los Angeles County Firemen's Benefit & Welfare: Never Forget 9/11 "Remember, Reflect, Renew", UNO 40th Anniversary, "Messina Wildlife Management", Namco Bandai Games Inc., "Quikrete" Cement & Concrete Products, "Saving America's Mustangs Foundation", and Shriner's Hospitals For Children.

The 2012 Rose Parade had 43 floats, 21 bands and 18 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses. The honor for being the last units in the parade went to All American Cowgirl Chicks (Equestrian), Needham Broughton High School (Band), and RFD-TV (Float). It also featured the first ever Swedish entry, the Royal Swedish Navy Cadet Band.

The 2013 parade featured 42 floats, 23 marching bands and 21 equestrian units. New for the 2013 Rose Parade were floats from Nurses' float "A Healing Place", Delta Sigma Theta, and the city of San Gabriel centennial float "Celebrating Our Journey". It began with the Wells Fargo/Opening Unit, American Honda's float, the U.S. Marine Corps's Mounted Color Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band. Farmers Insurance's "Love Float" featured the wedding of a Virginia couple, Nicole and Gerald of Chesapeake, VA, which was officiated by nationally syndicated radio personality Sean Valentine. The couple was selected through a first-ever public vote by the American people. The parade's closing unit featured Coco Jones of the Disney Channel.

Featured in the 2014 parade were 45 floats, including new floats from eHarmony, K9s4COPS, Public Storage ("Adventures In Space")[7] and SeaWorld. Actor, director, writer, producer Garry Marshall played the role of "director" on Burbank's "!" float. KC and the Sunshine Band were featured on Stella Rosa Wine's "Stellabrate Good Times" float. Performing on the e-Harmony float was Natalie Cole, singing "This Will Be". NBC's The Voice joined this parade too, along with Daryl Hall and the Harlem Globetrotters. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation float ("Living the Dream: Love Is the Best Protection") featured a wedding of a California couple, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair; some people called for a boycott of the parade as the couple were both men.[8]

The 2015 parade had 41 floats. New participants were ABC's The Bachelor, American Armenian Rose Float Association, Kiehl's Since 1851, Northwestern Mutual, United Sikh Mission and

The 2016 parade features 44 floats, 19 equestrian units, and 20 marching bands. New participants are Los Angeles Lakers, City of Irvine Chamber of Commerce, South Dakota Tourism, the California Milk Advisory Board, PBS (featuring Downton Abbey), and Union Bank. It marks the end of Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards' participation in the parade for local television station KTLA. Singpoli Group's float "Marco Polo East Meets West", constructed by float builder Paradiso was judged as the sweepstakes winner, the "Most beautiful entry in the Parade with outstanding floral presentation and design."[9]


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Float and "White Suiter" volunteer

Originally the parade featured flower-decorated horse carriages. Over time, floats built by volunteers from sponsoring communities supplanted the carriages. Currently most are built by professional float building companies and take nearly a year to construct. Some communities and organizational sponsors still rely on volunteers. The Valley Hunt Club still enters a flower-decorated carriage. The Cal Poly Universities Rose Float still relies solely on students who volunteer. Floats are self-propelled on (generally used-up) truck chassis[citation needed] in contrast to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which uses trailer-based floats pulled by new, intact (sponsor-provided) trucks.

Typically 48 to 72 hours prior to parade day, one can view several of the floats being decorated with flowery mantles in the various 'float barns' that dot the Arroyo Seco / Rose Bowl area in West Pasadena, not far from the start of the parade. 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. Last-minute volunteer opportunities are usually available.

Anaheim city's float at the 2008 Rose Parade included the Stanley Cup that the NHL's Anaheim Ducks had won last season, hoisted by player Brad May. (As the regulations state that the outside of the float must exclusively use organic material, ABC commentators speculated that the city got an exception to display the Cup.),[10] also the Los Angeles Dodgers had a float in celebration of the franchise's 50th anniversary in Los Angeles, with Hall of Fame sportscasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin as well as former players Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Eric Karros, and Nomar Garciaparra.

The 2010 parade floats included the Boy Scouts of America's 100th Anniversary float, the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, and "Safety Harbor Kids". The 2010 parade also featured a 113-foot-long (34 m) float from Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, which set a Guinness world record for the longest single-chassis float. The City of West Covina paid tribute to the "service and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen" with a float entitled "Tuskegee Airmen – A Cut Above", which featured a large bald eagle, two replica World War II "Redtails" fighter planes, and historical images of some of the airmen who served our country. The float won the Mayor's trophy as the most outstanding city entry - national or international, also Anaheim float featured the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game that was played at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, four former MLB All-Stars, pitchers Mark Langston, Chuck Finley, and Troy Percival, along with second baseman Bobby Grich were aboard.

Since January 1, 2012, fell on a Sunday, tradition dictated that the parade would be held on Monday, January 2, 2012. The 2012 Rose Parade had 43 floats, featuring the LMU Centennial Celebration float,[11] and the Girl Scouts of the USA 100th Anniversary float (entitled "What Will You Do Today?"). Float builder Fiesta Floats donated their services to the design of the Girl Scouts float, which was decorated by the organization's volunteers (of all ages).[12] Paramount Pictures also participated in the 2012 parade with its centennial celebration float "100 Years of Movie Magic". Namco Bandai Games joined the parade for the first time, commemorating the Power Rangers. Others were Microsoft Kinect ("You are the Controller") and the Kit-Cat Klock ("Timeless Fun for Everyone").[13]

The floats compete for one of 24 awards selected by three judges each year. The 2013 parade float judges were esteemed floral designer Shane Connolly, Macy's marketing executive and event producer Amy Kule, and Brian Sullivan, an executive with Southern California's Descanso Gardens. Since Honda became the title sponsor, its floats are not eligible to compete for an award.

After the parade the floats are parked at the end of the parade route on Sierra Madre Boulevard and Washington Boulevard, near Victory Park and are on display for a day and a half (two-and-a-half days when January 1 falls on Friday) after the parade. None of the float riders or dignitaries/celebrities involved in the parade are present, and animated features on some floats are not activated. Admission to the viewing area is $10 and children are admitted free.


File:First Calv US Army 07 Rose Parade.jpg
First Cavalry Division Equestrian Unit, US Army, Ft. Hood TX, at the 2007 Rose Parade
File:USMC 07 Rose Parade.jpg
USMC color guard at the 2007 Rose Parade

From the beginning horses have played a part in the Rose Parade. Thousands of riders have made the trek down Colorado Boulevard. "The Tournament equestrian family grows bigger and stronger every year as it welcomes the new equestrians who come to share the magic of New Year's Day and appreciate the commitment to excellence and professionalism exhibited by the returning equestrian units to the parade," according to the Tournament of Roses.

Prior to the parade an "Equestfest" is held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to showcase the performances by the talented riding teams. Equestrian units taking part in "Equestfest" have included the Clydesdales of the First Cavalry Division from U.S. Army Fort Hood, "Traveler" (the USC mascot), the Sons and Daughters of the Reel West, and the California State Fire Fighters Association. Bob Eubanks and Shawn Parr have served as announcers at "Equestfest."

Montie Montana was a perennial participant until his death in 1998. TV viewers know him from more than 60 appearances, waving to the crowd from his silver saddle.[14]

Recent parades

For the 2010 parade, there were 23 units: All American Cowgirl Chicks, Amigos de Anza Equestrian Drill Team, Arizona Mini Mystique Driving Drill Team, Benny Martinez Family, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Giddy Up Gals, L.A. County Sheriff - Mounted Enforcement, Long Beach Mounted Police, Medieval Times, The New Buffalo Soldiers, Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers, Region 1 Versatile Arabians, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, The Shire Riders, So Cal Peruvian Paso Horse Club, U.S. Army Ft. Hood - 1st Cavalry, USMC - Color Guard, USMC - Mountain Warfare Training, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo, and Western Haflinger Association.

The twenty-two equestrian units in the 2011 Rose Parade were the 1st Cavalry Fort Hood, All American Cowgirl Chicks, Benny Martinez Family, California State Firefighters' Association, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Equine Extremist with Tommie Turvey, Giddy Up Gals Drill Team, Kern County Sheriffs Mounted Posse, Long Beach Mounted Police, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, New Buffalo Soldiers, Region One Arabians, Saving America's Mustangs Foundation, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club, Spirit of the West Riders, The Shire Riders, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo, and Wild West Willie (combined with Kern County Sheriffs Mounted Posse).

2012 Rose Parade Equestrians were the All American Cowgirl Chicks, Arizona Mini Mystique, Broken Horn Ropers, Calgary Stampede Showriders (riding with the Calgary Stampede Showband), Calizona Appaloosas, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Escondido Mounted Police, First Cavalry Fort Hood (US Army), Kings County Sheriff's Posse, LAPD Mounted Unit, Long Beach Mounted Police, Los Hermanos Banuelos, Medieval Times, Merced County Sheriff's Posse, New Buffalo Soldiers, The Santa Rosa Palomino Club, So Cal Peruvian Pasos, Spirit of the West, War Horse Militia, US Marine Corps, Valley Hunt Club, and Wells Fargo.

2013 Tournament of Roses Equestrians: 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, All American Cowgirl Chicks, Anaheim Police Department Mounted Enforcement Unit, Canadian Cowgirls Precision Drill Team, Costumed Arabians Region One, Hawaii Pāʻū Riders, Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team, Jackson Fork Ranch Percherons, Long Beach Mounted Police, Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Medieval Times, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, ONDAR and the Eagles of Tuva, Prime Time Express Mounted Drill Team, Ramona Pageant, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, SD Farm, Spirit of the West Riders, Valley Hunt Club, Wells Fargo.

2014 Tournament of Roses Equestrians (16 units): All American Cowgirl Chicks, Budweiser Clydesdales, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team, Los Angeles Police Metropolitan Division Mounted Platoon/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Mounted Enforcement Detail, The Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Spirit of the West Riders, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, War Horse Foundation, Wells Fargo. Equestfest will take place December 29, 2013.

2015 Tournament of Roses Equestrians (18 units): 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, Budweiser Clydesdales, Hawaii Pa’u Riders, Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team, Los Angeles County Fire Department, The Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Prime Time Express Mounted Drill Team, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Spirit of the West Riders, United States Forest Service Pack String, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo.

19 equestrian units will participate in the 2016 parade: 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment - Fort Hood, American Endurance Ride Conference, Anheuser Busch Budweiser Clydesdales, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Dakota Thunder Shires, Long Beach Mounted Police, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Los Hermanos Bañuelos, Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, National Park Service, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls & The Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Scripps Miramar Ranch, Spirit of the West Riders, U.S. Army Field Artillery Half Section - Fort Sill, U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, and Wells Fargo.


Londonderry High School Marching Lancer Band, from New Hampshire during the 2004 parade

Top marching bands from all over the world are invited. Many of the nation's top high school marching bands, along with college and organizational marching bands participate.

The bands participating in the parade have also developed traditions. For example, Pasadena City College's Lancer Marching Band always marches in the Rose Parade, along with the Los Angeles Unified School District All City Honor Band Southern California, who are selected by audition the previous autumn. The Lancer Tournament of Roses Honor Band is a coveted position, and those selected are among 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.

University Marching bands from the two schools participating in the Rose Bowl are invited to march in the parade. They typically accompany the float that represents the school and conference.

Bands that have a long-standing arrangement to be in the parade include:[15]

In 1891, the Monrovia Town Band was the first musical group to perform in the Rose Parade. In 1998, the Washington Township High School Minutemen Marching Band from Sewell, New Jersey became the first band in the history of the Rose Parade to decorate its entire ranks with live flowers, in keeping with the practice of decorating the parade floats. From the neighboring town of Arcadia, the Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band and Colorgaurd has appeared for 15 years, returning about every four years. The Allen Eagle Escadrille from Allen, Texas had a record breaking 780 members in the 2016 Rose Parade.

In addition to the parade, the bands participate in a two-day, three-show Bandfest at Pasadena City College's Jackie and Mack Robinson Stadium, usually on December 29 and 30 (December 30 and 31 when the parade is on January 2). Twenty bands will participate in the 2016 parade.

Tournament of Roses Parade themes

File:Tournament of Roses Parade 2010 Float.jpg
Theme float "2010: A Cut Above the Rest" rolling down Colorado Boulevard during the parade

Shortly after the parade in January, the newly elected President of the Tournament of Roses has the duty of picking a theme for the forthcoming festivities. Most of the floral floats in the parade are inspired by this theme.

On January 15, 2015, Mike Matthiessen was confirmed as President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. He announced that the theme for the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game is Find Your Adventure. Matthiessen is general manager of Space Bank in Pasadena.[17]

Grand Marshal

2015 Grand Marshal Louis Zamperini at Tournament House

The Grand Marshal of the parade is an honorary position selected by the president of the Tournament. Many are picked for a relationship to the theme that is also picked by the president. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns was selected as the 2016 Grand Marshal, announced on November 10, 2015.

The 2015 parade Grand Marshal was to be Louis Zamperini.[18][19] After his death on July 2, 2014, the Tournament announced that it was "committed to honoring him as the Grand Marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade."[20] During the parade, USC mascot Traveler walked in his place, riderless to honor Zamperini.[21]

Vin Scully was chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 2014 parade and Rose Bowl Game. Previously, President Sally Bixby named Jane Goodall as the Grand Marshal for the 2013 parade, succeeding J. R. Martinez, the 2012 grand marshal.[22]

Food Network star Paula Deen was the Grand Marshal of the 2011 parade.[23] Captain Chesley Sullenberger was the 2010 Grand Marshal and actress Cloris Leachman served as the 2009 Grand Marshal, the 10th female grand marshal in the history of the parade. Mary Pickford was the first female Grand Marshal. Other Hollywood celebrities appeared as Grand Marshal are Leo Carrillo, Harold Lloyd, Walt Disney, John Wayne, and Bob Hope.

Repeat Marshals of the Tournament of Roses Parade

  • Shirley Temple (1928–2014), 1939, 1989, 1999
  • Charles Daggett, 1900, 1901, 1914
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969), 1951, 1964 (note that Cpl. Robert S. Gray filled in for him in 1951)
  • Bob Hope (1903-2003), 1947, 1969
  • Richard Nixon (1913–1994), 1953, 1960
  • C. C. Reynolds, 1902, 1903
  • Dr. Francis F. Rowland, 1890, 1892, 1894, 1904, 1905, 1910, 1916
  • Dr. Ralph Skillen, 1907, 1908, 1911
  • Edwin Stearns, 1896, 1897
  • Martin H. Weight, 1898, 1899
  • Earl Warren (1891–1974), 1943, 1955

Queen and Royal Court

Each year, a selection process is held in late September and early October to find out which Pasadena-area girls (ages 17 to 21) will have the honor of being crowned Queen of the Tournament, or one of the members of her "Royal Court". Each year more than 1000 girls try out. Six princesses and one queen are chosen. The winners then ride on a float in the parade, and carry out duties in promotion of the Tournament, mainly during its duration and prelude. Their duties include attending over one hundred and fifty events in the Pasadena area. They usually receive scholarships and extensive wardrobes; the 2005 Court also received a Mikimoto pearl necklace. During the time that they attend Tournament events, usually from October to January, each girl attends school a few times a week for a few hours at a time. One Tree Hill and Chicago P.D. actress Sophia Bush was Queen in 2000. 1997 princess Lisa Remillard is an anchor with San Diego's KUSI television station.[24]

Ana Marie Acosta of Polytechnic School was crowned 2014 Rose Parade Queen on October 24, 2013 during the Coronation Ceremony. Other members of 2014 Royal Court are Sarah Hansen, Pasadena City College; Kayla Johnson-Granberry; Pasadena High School; Jamie Kwong, La Salle High School; Katherine Lipp, La Cañada High School; Elyssia Widjaja, San Marino High School; and Elizabeth Woolf, La Cañada High School.[25]

The 2015 Rose Queen is Madison Triplett (John Marshall Fundamental High School). Members of the Royal Court are Mackenzie Byers (Pasadena City College), Gabrielle Current (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Veronica Mejia (Pasadena City College), Bergen Onufer (Mayfield Senior School), Simona Shao (Westridge School) and Emily Stoker (Temple City High School).


More recent attendance figures are followed by the TV and predicted attendance in parentheses. Most estimates are conducted by the Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena Police Department. A number of studies were conducted by the Anderson School of Management at UCLA on attendance and economic impact to Southern California. The Los Angeles Times ran a study in 1980 that said the actual attendance at the parade was actually about 60% of what is claimed each year.[citation needed]

  • 1890 – 2,000
  • 2002 – 800,000 (1,000,000; drop blamed on 9/11.)
  • 2004 – 1,000,000
  • 2009 – 700,000 (Pasadena had 1,000,000 visitors during the week of the parade.)
  • 2011 – 700,000
  • 2012 – 700,000 (with an estimated 70 million watching via worldwide television).
  • 2013 – 700,000

Television and website

The parade is televised on ABC, NBC, Univision (in Spanish), HGTV, Sky Link TV (in Mandarin and Cantonese), Hallmark Channel, RFD TV, and KTLA (the latter three offer interruption-free coverage, although KTLA continues to repeat the parade throughout the day with commercials). WGN-TV in Chicago carried KTLA's uninterrupted coverage of the 2009 parade (WGN and KTLA are both owned by Tribune Broadcasting, subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company).[26] Until 2005, the parade was also broadcast on CBS, and KTTV also televised the parade from the station's sign-on in 1949 until 1995. ABC serves as the official broadcaster of the parade, and its sister network ESPN currently airs the Rose Bowl (which formerly aired on ABC).

  • The 1947 parade was the first to be televised (on KTLA).
  • The 1954 parade was also the first program televised in the NTSC color television format nationwide on NBC.[27]
  • The 2004 parade was first time aired in Chinese Mandarin language on Chinese TV station: Sky Link TV.
  • The 2009 Parade was broadcast to 217 countries (79 countries live) in over 20 languages.
  • The Tournament of Roses website had approximately 13 million hits during the week of the 2009 parade.
  • The website was viewed in 150 countries.
  • The 2010 Parade was watched via TV in 127 countries including China.
  • The 2011 Parade had a total television reach of approximately 47 million television viewers in the U.S. and was seen by approximately 28 million viewers internationally.
  • The 2013 Parade was also streamed on Xbox Live via both their WatchESPN (U.S.) and Live Event Player (all other countries) applications.



Each year, the newly elected president announces the following year's Theme in January and chooses a Grand Marshal during the year. Preparation and construction of the floral floats theoretically begins after the Theme is announced. The selection of marching bands is already well under way except for Rose Bowl participant bands which are not selected until 4 weeks before the parade. In 2005, Libby Evans Wright was elected as the first female president of the Association.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses appointed former Los Angeles Times executive P. Scott McKibben as its executive director in 2010, replacing John M. (Mitch) Dorger, who had served as CEO since 2000. On September 8, 2011, he resigned for personal reasons. Chief operating officer William B. Flinn was named interim executive director.[28]

Effective March 1, 2012, William B. Flinn took over the role of executive director.

Operations and the parade

The Tournament of Roses has become such a large event that it requires 65,000 hours of combined manpower each year, or the equivalent of roughly 7.42 years of combined manpower. Fortunately for the Association, the group has 935 members, each of whom is assigned to one of 34 committees, and around 50 student ambassadors. Responsibilities include:

  • Selecting Parade participants
  • Inspecting and testing floats for safe and reliable operation
  • Assembling the parade elements
  • Conducting the parade through the streets of Pasadena
  • Directing visitors on New Year's Day
  • Assisting the public and the media in viewing the parade
  • Giving presentations about the Tournament to community groups
  • Supervising elements of the Rose Bowl Game (and also the BCS National Championship Game when held in Pasadena)

During the Parade, many Tournament members are required to wear white suits with red ties, name tags, membership pins and official ribbons. Because of this, the volunteers are commonly referred to as "White Suiters."[29] In December each year, a fleet of white vehicles with special "ToR" license plates are seen throughout the San Gabriel Valley. The use of these cars is currently donated by American Honda for use by high-ranking Tournament members.

Each year, an honor troop of Eagle Scouts from the San Gabriel Valley Council, (now GLAAC), and "The Tournament Troop" of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients of the Arcadia Service Unit of the Girl Scouts Greater Los Angeles, is selected to carry the parade banners down the route. Each year, for the last 35 years, more than 100 scouts have participated.

The Tournament of Roses Radio Amateurs (TORRA) provided audio communications and video co-ordination for the parade officials through the use of Amateur radio from 1968 until 2005. With over 300 ham radio operators in TORRA there were several ham radio sites along the parade route equipped with amateur television as well as 2-way ham radios. Several mobile units – including motorcycles and pedestrian units (creepie-peepies) provided the video coverage. With modern technology and cell phone service, TORRA was no longer needed.

Thousands more volunteers help cover the floats in those beautiful flower and seed mixes during "Deco week," Dec 26- parade day. Many of these come back year after year, some even camp nearby to help all week long.


Spectators gather before the 2004 Rose Parade: some pay for seats in stands; others spend the night to "reserve" a free spot on the sidewalks.

For the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2 (it is always held on January 2 when January 1 falls on a Sunday) winds with gusts up to 45 mph (72 km/h) and five inches (130 mm) of rain in the Pasadena area were predicted. The forecast proved accurate, ruining the 51 year record of good weather for the parade. It rained continuously and heavily throughout the entire 2006 parade. The President of the Tournament, the Grand Marshal of the Parade and the executive committee[citation needed], deliberated into the early morning at the Tournament House. With street rumors circulating of the parade being canceled or postponed and restlessness of the crowd further east along the parade route, the parade got underway despite the bleak weather.[30] Low television ratings and poor attendance plagued the ceremony. Some floats sustained water damage by the end of the parade.

Related events

  • Royal Ball, September 2015
  • Coronation Ceremony, October 2015
  • Selection Sunday, December 6, 2015[31]
  • Lawry's Beef Bowl – December 2015
  • Decorating Places (for float viewing), various "barns", December 26–31, 2015
  • Equestfest, Los Angeles Equestrian Center, December 29, 2015
  • Bandfest, Pasadena City College, December 29 & 30, 2015
  • Hall of Fame ceremony, Pasadena Convention Center, December 30, 2015
  • Kickoff Luncheon, Rose Bowl, December 31, 2015
  • Rose Bowl Game Public Tailgate, January 1, 2016
  • Post Parade (for float viewing), Washington and Sierra Madre Boulevards, January 1–3, 2016
  • 2016 Rose Bowl, January 1, 2016


  • January 2, 1922 – First parade not held on New Year's Day (The parade is traditionally never held on a Sunday because when it was first started the Tournament did not want the horses to get spooked by the church bells.)
  • January 3, 2002 – Tournament of Roses hosted the first BCS National Championship where Miami defeated Nebraska, 37-14, and the Parade and the Rose Bowl Game were held on separate days
  • January 1, 2014 – The first same-sex marriage at the parade was held, for Aubrey Loots and Danny LeClair.[32]


  1. Los Angeles Times, "Big crowd, but who's counting?" Accessed 2009-01-15
  2. 2009 Tournament Times, a publication of Tournament of Roses Association
  3. Mary L. Grady, Mercer Island High School Marching Band to march in 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade, Mercer Island Reporter, September 24, 2010
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  7. 2014 - Adventures In Space - Public Storage - Rose Parade Float on YouTube, Youtube, January 1, 2014
  8. Karlamangla, Soumya (December 29, 2013). "Gay couple to marry on Rose Parade float". Los Angeles Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. 2016 Float Awards Announcement, Tournament of Roses, January 1, 2016
  10. "Page not found - The Orange County Register".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Joseph Wakelee-lynch, LMU: Rose Parade Bound, LMU Magazine, March 18, 2011
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  14. "Montie Montana, dead at 87". Variety.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Rose Parade Participants
  16. Annual bands – Part 1, Tournament Times, May 23, 2013
  17. Claudia Palma, "Find Your Adventure" is 2016 Rose Parade theme, Matthiessen confirmed as 2016 President, The Pasadena Star-News, January 15, 2015
  18. Lloyd, Jonathan (May 9, 2014). "War Hero, Former Olympian Louis Zamperini Named Rose Parade Grand Marshal". NBCUniversal. Retrieved May 9, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Olympic runner and WW2 prisoner Louis Zamperini dies". BBC. 3 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. The Tournament ff Roses Expresses Our Heartfelt Sympathy to The Family ff Louis Zamperini, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, July 3, 2014
  22. Corrigan, Kelly (25 April 2012). "Jane Goodall named 2013 Rose Parade grand marshal". La Canada Valley Sun. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 February 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Chef Paula Deen Named Rose Parade Grand Marshal, AP via ABC News, October 26, 2010
  24. Lisa Remillard, KUSI, March 2014
  25. Ana Marie Acosta crowned 2014 Rose Parade Queen, Long Beach Press-Telegram, October 24, 2013
  26. WGN TV Chicago: Holiday specials Accessed 2008-12-30.
  27. "Colorcast of the Rose Parade".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. McKibben resigns from Tournament of Roses top job, Pasadena Star-News, September 8, 2011
  29. About Us, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Retrieved November 2012
  30. "117th Rose Parade". UPI. Retrieved 31 December 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. All Events, Tournament of Roses, 2013
  32. "Rose Parade Sees First Gay Wedding". Time. January 2, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Route map: Bing / Google