Rose Parade Experience
By Robert Bernstein
Here are my many photos and videos of our wonderful experience at the 130th Rose Parade in Pasadena!
Several years ago my childhood friend came out to visit from the DC area with his family. They had many adventures driving all of Route 66. But one of their highlights was seeing the Rose Parade. I realized that if they could come all the way across the country for the Rose Parade, surely we could figure out how to see it!
Here was my strategy: We stayed at a funky hostel in Little Tokyo that was a bit like a college dorm. It was conveniently located near Union Station. We arrived on New Year's Eve day in time
for some walking-around sight-seeing. Then, on New Year's Day, we boarded the Metro at around 7AM and headed over to Pasadena. A lot of other people had the same idea, but it was smooth going and just about 30 minutes of a comfortable ride!
I had booked a pair of Grandstand seats which cost $75 each. A bargain compared to camping out on the street! We were told that people start staking out their spots around 5AM on the day before the parade!
It was quite festive and orderly despite the massive crowds. Various Christian evangelist groups took advantage of the pre-parade crowd to spread their message of "Repent or Burn". Not only would "Homos", Feminists and Atheists face hell fire, but so would those who wear "Yoga Pants."
In contrast, there was also a Pastafarian evangelist for the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
The parade had 88 units. Here you can see a full line-up courtesy of the Pasadena Star-News.
It is hard to pick just a few favorites, as every unit was amazing in some way! I encourage you to look at my videos and photo galleries and look for yourself! That said, below are a few of my picks.
The real glory of the parade is seeing the elaborate floats. But the marching bands and beautiful women were also an important part of the parade. These women were with the Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets in the 2nd parade unit
To quote the program guide: "Having arrived on a distant planet and incapable of using words to communicate, Cal Poly’s astronauts Morgan and Sally use musical instruments to share their message of good will with the aliens they find. Of the stems on the entry, 90 percent were grown in California, and many — including statice, marigolds and strawflowers — right on the Cal Poly campuses."
The theme this year was "The Melody of Life" and many of the units involved music in their displays. I should note that many of the units were eerily silent, though! Even those that featured music in their theme!
One of my favorites that was definitely musical and beautiful was the Yellow Submarine Unit 29
As you can see from the video, this was a float that not only had music, but also had moving parts!
Some units had a public service message. Unit 45 by the UPS Store was called "Books Keep Us On Our Toes" and featured Olive, a book-reading, ballet- practicing ostrich. Her head, neck and legs were covered with 30,000 carnations.
Unit 47 by 24 Hour Fitness was meant to inspire women to get active. The float featured a powerful female athlete holding a Spartan styled shield. The see-through design shows off her organs working and growing strong from activity.
The parade winds through Pasadena for over five miles, so it is impossible for every unit to be active all the time. They would get totally worn out. Here is the Carnival Cruise Lines Unit 65 which included a trampoline on top. The crowd called for a trampoline performance and they delivered.
Banda Municipal de Acosta (Unit 77) is a Costa Rican group that had to cancel for a previous Rose Parade because of the terrible hurricane. Rumor had it that they were able to make it this year from generous donations from other parade units. I have not been able to verify this.
My video shows them along with a bit of the following unit advertising the new film "How to Train Your Dragon" which included a waterfall on the float!
As I say, it is hard to pick a few favorites out of the many extraordinary scenes!
Please look here at the rest of my videos and photos!