It’s America’s New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry that have thrived in Pasadena for more than 100 years.
The floats are made from structural steel elements and organic materials that include flowers, seeds and fruit. Many floats, along with their drive train, include computer-controlled robotic mechanisms to animate the floats.
It takes 60 volunteers working 10 hours a day for 10 days to decorate one float.
On January 1, 2015 the Oregon Ducks champions of the Pac-12 Conference, and Florida State Seminoles, champions of the ACC Conference, are playing in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at 1:30 p.m. PT at the historic Rose Bowl Stadium.
3. Tournament of Roses House
Little did William Wrigley know that In 1914, when he purchased the 18,500 sq. ft. Stimson mansion for $170,000, that one day it would become the prestigious Tournament of Roses Headquarters, the mecca of New Eve’s Eve and New Year’s Day activities.
Located on Millionaire Row in Pasadena, it was one of the Wrigley’s six homes. This mansion was made with one foot thick steel and concrete walls to protect the structure from California Earthquakes.
Wrigley did not like the appearance of the house next door, so he purchased it and leveled the home to turn the area into the Wrigley Gardens. The gardens have more than 1,500 varieties of roses, camellias and annuals.
Enjoying the festivities by the Tournament of Roses each New Year’s Day, Wrigley applied to join the private social club, The Valley Hunt Club, most noted for starting the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1890.
When his membership was rejected from the prestigious circle, maybe because he wasn’t a full-time resident, William Wrigley Jr. was miffed. He made it known to his family that when he and Ada died, the family would deed the 4.25 acre property with the mansion and gardens to the City of Pasadena for the exclusive use as the Tournament of Roses Headquarters. Tours are available to visitors throughout the year. Go to http://www.tournamentofroses.com/history/association to learn more.
Two days before the parade, all of the chosen high school Marching Bands perform at Pasadena City College on the football field. It’s really fun to see high school students perform from Japan, Maui, Denmark and from schools around the United States. To learn more go to http://www.tournamentofroses.com/events/bandfest to see the schedule and how to purchase tickets.
5. After the Parade
Guests can get up close to the floats before New Years Day and after the parade. On New Year’s Eve drive over to the the various ‘float barns’ that dot the Arroyo Seco / Rose Bowl where a few floats are being wheeled out to be judged by the Tournament of Roses judges. It’s an exciting time, as volunteers are putting on the final touches before their float gets to be seen by the world.
After the parade on New Year’s Day, the floats are taken to Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards in Pasadena. You can walk within a few feet of them and volunteers will be there to answer questions.