"Rose Bowl," CC Flickr photo credit: donielle
Dozens of flower laiden floats will hit the streets of Pasadena Jan. 2


Way back in 1890 a group of men who were members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club decided to celebrate California's mild winter climate and hold a parade. One hundred twenty three years later, thousands of families and football fans are boarding flights to California to take part in what has become a time-honored tradition.


More than 700,000 people are expected to line the streets of Pasadena to enjoy yet another Rose Parade in 2012. This year’s theme is  “Just Imagine…”,  and 43 floats, 16 bands (of the 50 who tried out), and 27 equestrian groups riding a variety of horse breeds will start marching down Orange Grove on Monday, January 2, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. sharp, marshaled in by celebrity Grand Marshall J.R. Martinez. 


While it is true that most years the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl are held on New Year’s Day, the “never on a Sunday” tradition reigns, giving people the opportunity to party it up on New Year’s Eve, sleep off their hangover on New Year’s Day, and still be able to enjoy the parade the next day without missing a beat. Thinking about heading out to the parade to see incredible flower-laden floats for yourself but not sure about logistics? No worries, we have you covered!


Get their early! If you would like to score a coveted spot along the Rose Parade route and haven’t bought a seat in the grandstand, prepare for a campout. While there is no curbside viewing of the parade along the televised route, there are still plenty of stretches of sidewalk without grandstands along the 5 ½ mile route that are open to the general public for free to those who get there early enough to claim them.


People are allowed to stake out their positions on the sidewalk starting at noon the day before the parade with blankets and lawn chairs (but no tents) in tow.  At 11p.m. the night before the parade, parade watchers are then allowed to move out to the blue honor line in the street.


Know where to park or better yet, catch a ride! Unless you have paid for a grandstand seat, you will be unable to park in the reserve lot. Luckily, there are plenty of lots near the parade route that are happy to take your cash in exchange for a precious parking space. The earlier, you arrive, the closer you will be able to park to the parade route. There is some street parking available on side streets near the route but follow signage carefully because parking rules will most definitely be enforced.


To save yourself money and the hassle of trying to find a parking space, consider taking the Metro.  The Metro Gold Line runs through Pasadena and the Memorial Park Station, Lake Metro Station, Allen Metro Station, and Sierra Madre Villa Station are all within four blocks of the parade route.


Dress in layers and pack some snacks! The parade’s forefathers would be happy to know that this year’s forecast calls for highs in the low 80’s on New Year’s Day, making their mild winter celebration apropos.  The nights and morning, however, can definitely be chilly so it is important to pile on those layers. Keep in mind that the Rose Parade is two hours long from start to finish and the last thing you will want to do after spending all night camping out is spend 45 minutes in line for a pretzel and miss the main event. 


Be sure to pack a thermos of something warm, plenty of water, and enough food to share with your neighbors so they will be willing to hold your spot on the sidewalk while you visit the portable toilet. No glass containers are allowed along the parade route so pack accordingly.


If all else fails, visit the floats the day after the parade! If camping out, dealing with traffic and crowds, and braving the cold doesn’t seem like something you are up for this year, you can still get a first hand view of the amazing Rose Parade floats at the Showcase of Floats.


Approximately 60,000 visitors visit the post-parade float viewing area on Sierra Madre Blvd. and Washington Blvd.where the floats are on January 2nd from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. and January 3rd from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $10, and the walk amongst the floats is about two miles round trip but the opportunity to see these detailed works of vegetative art is worth all the effort.


CC Flickr photo credit: donielle


One Response

  1. Ernie

    Wish I were in CA and Pasadena, to see and smell the floats up close and the day after. Also to see and hear the UW Marching Band in person in the Parade and at the Rose Bowl game with those awesome Badgers taking on the Ducks of Oregon. Go Bucky, On WISCONSIN!


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