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Celebrating 125 years of the Rose Parade in Pasadena

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In three days it will be Jan 1 2014, a new year in every way, except for the age old - 125 years - "Rose Parade" - which leads to the 100 years ' Rose Bowl Football game' a playoff between the top two collegiate teams in our nation, one of the most popular events in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

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None of us, so far, has lived to this venerable age of 125 years, but from all I have read it all began in the winter of 1890 in one of the few developed areas of Southern California - Pasadena. Coined the "Tournament of Roses" by Club member Charles Holder who, it is said, hoped to attract snowbound New Englanders and winter-weary Midwesterners to the warm sunshine of California, which could be enjoyed even in the deep winter season.

The parade started in 1890 entirely with horse-drawn carriages, decorated with California blossoms and modeled after the Flower Parade in Nice, France. Over the years the Parade has grown -

in 1901 the first automobile float was added; 1906 saw the addition of a Rose Queen and Princesses; 1920 the floats went from horse-drawn to motor-driven; each new year brought another exciting addition, Mary Pickford was the first female Grand-Marshall, KTLA the station who began televising the event, international companies with headquarters or branches in California began entering floats, marching bands from high schools and colleges across the USA began parading, by the time 2013 rolled around the "Rose Parade" had gone global.

Each year's Rose Parade has a theme, for 2014 the theme is "Dreams come true" reflecting the pageantry that has evolved from it's humble beginnings in 1890. While preparations for the following year begins the day after the parade ends, the hectic pace does not begin until the month of December when each constructed float is examined for perfection. The natural materials - flowers, seeds, bark, leaves and more do not begin arriving until after Christmas, trucked in by 18-wheelers and refrigerated box trucks. It is at this time that the large volunteer crews begin their 8-hour rotations to get the floats decorated and the in the pristine condition they will be on Jan 1; then the judging begins for the many awards that are given.

Each year since 1956 I have eagerly waited to see KTLA's showing of the Rose Parade hosted byBob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards which continues to this new year. For those who wish to get a more personal observation of the floats, from Dec 28 - 31 visitors can observe the floats being decorated at (1) Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco Street; (2) Brookside Pavilion, Lot 1 on the south side of the Rose Bowl Stadium; (3) Rose Palace, 835 S. Raymond Ave, the cost is $10, get information for times and dates by calling (626) 795-4171.

On the day of the actual parade Jan 1, 2014 many people line the parade route to see the floats as they wind along the 5.5 miles. The earlier you arrive the night before the better viewing spot you will have. It has become a tradition of camping out the night before, bring your own chairs, blankets, water, food, and join the revelers as they wait for the new year to dawn and the parade to begin. For those less inclined to spend a night in the open, grandstand seats can be purchased starting at $45 - $90 per seat.

Parking is always at a premium in the Los Angeles basin, and this popular event is no exception. When possible take the Metro - the Red, Purple, Silver, Gold, and Orange lines will run through the night, starting at midnight December 31. Phone (323) 466-3876.

After the Parade, for those who wish to see the floats, they will be on public display along Sierra Madre and Washington Blvd, January 1 -2 at a cost of $10 per person, which includes an audio tour in English and Spanish. Phone (877) 793-9911 for information.

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