I haven’t been to the Rose Parade in years. But it is a sight to see…and an event that consumes Pasadena. I lived in Pasadena for a few years and it is a regular rhythm of events leading up to the Rose Bowl and the Parade.
Several weeks before – sometimes months before, you will start to see the bleachers being installed along Colorado Blvd. They will pop-up in empty spaces, parking lots, front lawns, wherever. Then come the RVs. They start to show up about 2 weeks before the Rose Bowl. Folks who are determined to make their family vacation in Pasadena – centered around the Rose Bowl. The challenge becomes that Colorado is lined with bleachers and the side streets are lined with RVs. This makes normal parking and business a bit of a challenge. Then, if you frequent the local places, you’ll find these football fanatics everywhere. They are all dolled up in their team’s garb trying to make their holiday in quiet little Pasadena. If you live in Pasadena, by the time New Year’s Eve arrives, you’ve had enough and just want to vacate the area. But if you are lucky enough to live a few miles away of the hoopla, you might venture into Pasadena for a little New Year’s excitement. If you didn’t purchase seats – you will be left to find a viewable spot along Colorado, and folks start camping out in the days leading up to the event. And I mean camping out…on the curb with their hibachi grills. Some folks I know, bring ladders to provide a view a few layers of people back. One New Year’s several years ago, my friends and I were able to spend the night at the top of a parking structure. We were away from the crowds and had a perfect view of the event at the break of dawn when the parade makes its debut.
You can tell that the whole New Year’s event is not my favorite part…but what is it exactly that I’ll miss? The floats. In the weeks and months leading up to the big event, Rose Parade floats are being created all across Southern California. Several cities and local businesses sponsor floats and you can see them being constructed and assembled along the streets and underpasses. You can volunteer to help apply flowers to the floats or you can go down to the Rose Bowl to take a tour of the floats being created. This is a pretty amazing thing to see. All of the flowers, seeds and other material that is used to make the float.
Then for the 3-4 days after New Year’s, the floats are parked up at the top of Sierra Madre for viewing. This is the way to see the floats. Completed and up close. This I will miss.