The Rose Parade, also known as the Tournament of Roses Parade, is an annual tradition in Pasadena, California. The event takes place every year on New Year’s day, rain or shine. If New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, the parade will take place on Monday, January 2nd.
The Rose Parade in Pasadena is one of the most awaited events of the year. Hundreds of thousands of spectators from all over the United States, watch the parade either in person, or on multiple television networks.
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How Did the Pasadena Rose Parade Begin?
The Rose Parade started in 1890. Inspired by the flower battles at the Nice Carnaval, in France, members of the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club decided to showcase California’s beautiful winter weather.
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” they said.
And that’s how it all began.
What to Expect at the Pasadena Rose Parade
The Pasadena Rose Parade is to Los Angeles what the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is to New York City. Quite a big deal! The Parade includes flower-covered floats, marching bands, and equestrian units.
The day before the parade, the streets and the neighborhoods on the route are sealed off and reserved for the marshaling floats and bands.
The Rose Parade has come a long way since its early days. The new floats now feature high-tech computerized animation and exotic materials from around the world. From the design stages to the final day, the process takes about a year.
The floats design has to be submitted as early as February to get approved for the following years’s parade. The construction begins around March and when finished the float has to undergo a test to make sure it’s safe and it drives properly.
Interesting Facts About the Pasadena Rose Parade
• The decorating of the floats for the Pasadena Rose Parade begins during the first week of December, approximately a month before the parade starts.
• Approximately 18 million flowers are used to decorate the floats. The first flowers glued in are the carnations and the chrysanthemum, because they are the most resilient. Roses go last and they are actually put in vials with water, to last longer.
• In addition to flowers, the designers also use some other organic materials such as bark, seeds, spices, and leaves to decorate the floats.
• For three days after the parade, people can pay an admission fee to check out the floats at rest.
• Choosing a Rose Queen has been a tradition for more than 90 years.
• The selection of the marching bands starts two years in advance.
• Pasadena Rose Parade has more than 20 committees, each supporting a different element of the parade.
Getting Tickets for the Parade
Seeing the Pasadena Rose Parade in person is a great experience which you shouldn’t miss if you happen to be in Southern California for New Year’s Eve. If you want to attend, you’ll should start planning very early in the year. Tickets go on sale around February 1st, although the event will take place 11 months later.
Ticket prices change from time to time, but they range from $50 to $100 range per seat. The best tickets (grandstand seating) are on the bleachers, at the beginning of the parade route, on Orange Grove Boulevard and along Colorado Boulevard.
Those stadium-style reserved seats will run you as much as $110/ticket (not including parking). But even at this steep price they sell out every year way in advance. The official website for tickets is the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, but there are other sites as well, like Sharp Seating, or Stub Hub.
For the rest of the 5.5-mile route, anyone can stake out a piece of curb for free. So how do you do that? A lot of people camp out all night for a good spot.
One thing to keep in mind is that traffic and parking on the day of the parade are a nightmare. But if you have never seen the Tournament of Roses in person, it’s worth making the effort.