The World's Parade

The World's Parade
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Photo by Catherine Bauknight

Story and Photos by Catherine Bauknight

Each New Year, the world flocks to Pasadena for the magic and majesty of America’s parade, the Rose Parade Presented by Honda.

And while many of the people, floats and assorted moving parts of this 129-year-old event change from year to year, the wonder and joy that this world-renowned parade elicits from kids ages 9 to 92 never does. Each year brings with it something new and exciting and wonderful, much like the year ahead that we all look forward to on this Big Day.

Like years past, this parade was also steeped in tradition, complete with a grand marshal, actor Gary Sinise, and a Queen and her Court, La Salle High’s Isabella Marez and her court, consisting of six outstanding young ladies from local high schools. This year marked the 100th anniversary of the Rose Queen tradition. And Sinise, an Oscar-nominated actor who has devoted much of his adult life to helping our nation’s veterans, seemed to be the perfect choice to lead the event, the theme of which, as chosen by Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet, was “Making A Difference.”

It seemed everyone was inspired by this year’s theme, making differences of their own, large and small, in contributing to the overall splendor of the parade.

Thousands upon thousands of people, many of whom slept on the sidewalk overnight in anticipation of the parade, were extra kind, extra courteous, and extra patriotic in what was in some cases their first and possibly last visit to the Crown City.

On New Year’s Eve, people lined up along Orange Grove Boulevard and played poker on the sidewalk, set up to save their viewing space for the parade. Steve Bryan traveled from Fresno to camp out and cook spaghetti on the street while waiting for the parade to begin.

“I love it,” Bryan said as the sun was going down on New Year’s Eve. “I love seeing the details of the flowers on the floats.”

At Rosemont Pavilion in Brookside Park, near the Rose Bowl, Con Greachan of Alberta, Canada volunteered her time preparing flowers for the floats.

Jeanie Kodar from Minnesota drove to Pasadena, also to volunteer on the floats.

“I grow roses, and that’s why I like to come; to help with the flowers,” Kodar said simply.

Teamwork, community, goodwill — all came together this day to produce and enjoy a historic event that is special not only to Pasadena, but the rest of world.

To see list of the winning floats please see Bulletin Board on page 17

This article first appeared in the Pasadena Weekly

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