Interesting Tidbits about the New Year’s Day Rose Parade
The Rose Parade, a New Year's Day tradition for the last 125 years, kicks off for 2014 at 8:00am.
This eagerly awaited California parade is an American festival complete with bands and horses and most notably, the floats filled with flowers. The parade is then followed by the football championship called the Rose Bowl.
Keep reading below for more interesting tidbits about the Rose Parade traditions.
Flickr Photo Credit: Prayitno
Rose Parade History
The Tournament of Roses Association, which hosts the parade, was founded in 1890 and is now a nonprofit volunteer organization. Their headquarters are in Pasadena, California. The parade organizers work year round to pull together the magnificent January 1st spectacle.
The parade was originally started as an ode to the lovely weather in California during the winter. The original 1890 parade was fashioned after a festival in France called "The Battle of the Flowers." What started out as a small carriage procession with a few flowers has now turned into a parade that is televised in more than 200 countries. Just two years after the parade was born, it almost closed down. The winter of 1892 saw a severe winter storm that caused a shortage of roses. The directors almost changed the name to the "Orange Tournament" but changed their minds.
Fabulous Flowered Floats!
The parade is now known worldwide for its flower-covered floats. In order to qualify under parade regulations, a float must be entirely covered in flowers. No space can be left undone. The only other materials that can show are leaves, bark or seeds. Before the parade, guests can purchase tickets to watch the floats being finished by professionals and volunteers. Anyone who will be in California during the weeks preceding the parade can sign up to be one of the float building volunteers. They may be asked to put individual stems in glass vials full of water. That's a task that can take hours upon hours and volunteers are glad to do it.
The parade now features animated creations that rival even the biggest amusement park rides. One year, a working roller coaster made its way down the parade route as a floral-covered float.
After the parade, the floats are parked along the intersections of Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards in Pasadena. Pedestrians can get up close and see the handiwork of the float designers. They can also download the audio of a guided tour on their iPods and take a self-guided walk through the making of the floats.
Rose Parade Photo GalleryClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Best of the Best
Many simultaneous events are going on around the Rose Parade. Single women are vying for the title of Rose Queen in the Royal Courts and the Grand Marshal is making his way to his seat of honor.
Of course, everyone is hoping to take home the stunning Rose Parade Trophy for best float in the parade.
Categories for the coveted award include best animated float, most humorous, best craftsmanship and most innovative, among others.
The Rose Parade isn't the only thing going on during the first week of January. The Rose Bowl Game is a major attraction after the parade.
In the weeks before either of these two events, visitors can enjoy many other live events. Many people plan their vacations around this exciting time. Equestrian performances and marching bands from around the country are just two of the events that make up the week's festivals.
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