Living near the Rose Bowl, I always know when the Rose Parade is starting by sound. The Air Force B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber flies over Pasadena. It’s black exterior and 172 feet wingspan is more than half the distance of a football field.
Many like to watch the Rose Parade on the television, however I love to sit on a curb and see the floats, bands, equestrians and tournament entries up close. We drive to the end of the parade route and find a spot to stand or sit along Sierra Madre Blvd.
Here are 10 of my favorite parade entries –
The Disneyland Resort “Diamond Celebration” float dazzled with Diamonds for their 60th anniversary. Not only was there the Sleeping Beauty Castle, but Chip and Dale. The Frozen cast included Anna, Elsa, Olaf & Kristoff waving near the ice castle. Star War Fans applauded as they sea Chewbacca and some Stormtroppers.
This year the Los Angeles Lakers had a float with floral fireworks in a variety of colors, and a replica of their NBA championship trophy. Ten Laker Jerseys hung off the side displaying some of their greatest players numbers. The float titled “Every Second is an Adventure,” had team legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and former Laker girl Paula Abdul riding near the front. Laker girls were on the float and walking near the crowd.
A crowd favorite is always the eight Budweiser Clydesdales hitched as a team to a red wagon. These horses weigh between 1,800 to 2,300 pounds each. The Budweiser Clydesdales made their first appearance 59 years ago in the Rose Parade. The dalmatian sitting atop the wagon seemed to enjoy the applause.
Women seemed to perk-up as The Bachelor “Love is the Greatest Journey” float went by. Sitting on top was the 2016 Bachelor Ben Higgins waving to the crowd. It’s the second year that the popular television show has had a float. The Bachelor will air on January 4 on ABC.
The Northwestern Mutual float “Dancing into Adventure” was a dream for 13-year-old leukemia survivor Peyton Richardson from Texas. As an aspiring ballerina, Richardson’s favorite ballet is Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. There are more than 10,000 pink roses on this float and a graceful 15-foot ballerina. Iconic landmarks from some of the top cities with ballet companies occupy the float, including Big Ben in London and the Sydney Opera House.
The Toho High School Green Band was the liveliest band of the day. They were smiling, dancing and waving to the crowd while marching over five miles. Some of the American bands were getting tired at the end, however this band from Nagoya-Japan acted as if they were at the beginning of the parade route. It’s their first appearance at the Rose Parade and all the musicians self-funded their trip to Pasadena.
The Punahou Marching Band dancers had hula skirts made from hall leaves. The uniforms are the colors of sand and the deep blue sea. They were lively and fun to watch.
The PBS Float of “Downton Abbey: The Final Adventure” was a marvel to look at up close with the Edwardian Estate that offered an elevator tower to be lowered to roll under freeway overpasses. There was an English rose garden, tailored topiaries and flowering trees. The float also had a replica of a 1919 Bentley. The final season of Downton Abbey premieres on January 3 on Masterpiece on PBS.
The La Canada Flintridge float is “Up The Creek” was created from over 100 entries submitted to the LCF Tournament of Roses. Hundreds of volunteers decorated this whimsical float.
The City of Hope float had Dr. Rahul Jandial, a neurosurgeon and medical researcher riding with one of his patients, brain and breast cancer survivor Joan Rose-Hall. The float, themed “The Miracle of Science with Soul,” also had other patients who have participated in life-saving therapies and trials from the cutting edge medical research hospital.