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Going to the Rose Parade
It's an American tradition dating back to 1890. Horses, marching bands, a royal court, and of course the flower-covered floats! Who doesn't love a parade? And the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena ranks up there with the best of the best!
The Rose Parade is held each year on New Years Day, and is probably the most watched event of the day (except for maybe the Rose Bowl football game!) It's broadcast from sunny California, and is a great way to move into the new year and have a moment of escape from the winter chill that covers most of the rest of the country.
I recently moved to California, and decided that the best way to experience a new place is to just jump in and do everything! I've seen too many people who never really explore the area around them, and I don't want to be someone who ends up having regrets at not seeing things. The Rose Parade fell into the category of "Things to do in California", so this was the year to go!
The Sesame Street float!
I went to the parade with a few friends, and after asking around for advice and doing some web research, we learned that people start camping out the day before the parade and can stake out their spots on the street at noon. There was no way we were going to spend 24 hours in our spot! We wanted to celebrate New Years Eve away from the parade route, so we decided to take our chances and show up around three that morning. We figured there were only three of us so we should be able to find a space somewhere along the extra-long route.
We didn't make it to the parade route until 4 am, but we still managed to get a spot on the median (on the grass) at the spot where the parade turns off of Colorado Street (or whatever street it is!). We slept for an hour or so, and then the fun began as the street vendors began making their way up and down the route, and the crowds really began to show up. The area around us was completely full and I'm sure people had to walk quite a ways from their car. We had been lucky enough to park right by where we were sitting.
The street was packed, and the parade didn't make it to our spot until around 9:30 am or so, since we were near the end of the route. It was very cool to see all of the floats up close, and the weather couldn't have been better. The entire experience was a blast!
A few more photos of the parade
The parade is amazing! It really is impressive to see all of the work that goes into building each float, and the amount of practice put in by the bands and all of the performers involved makes it worth the long night waiting! It was much nicer waiting for this parade than the time I waited in Times Square for the ball to drop. The weather was perfect, the crowd was fun, and we were able to lay down and sleep a bit after getting our spot. What more could you want?