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Hoda Kotb co-hosts the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade

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The Rose Parade is the most popular New Year’s Day celebration in the world, and this year’s event with the theme "Dreams Come True" will present 44 floral floats, including one celebrating NBC's hit series “The Voice,” featuring this past season's winner Tessanne Chin.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, an icon in American sports history and "the voice of the Los Angeles Dodgers" for 64 years, will serve as the Grand Marshal. He will also narrate the opening of the parade, which highlights great American achievements over the last 125 years, celebrating iconic moments in history like the invention of the Model T, the first Trans-Atlantic flight and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon.

Other famous faces to be featured are director, producer, actor and writer Garry Marshall, an eHarmony float featuring multiple Grammy-winning recording artist Natalie Cole singing live, RFD-TV’s entry spotlighting Daryl Hall singing “You Make My Dreams Come True,” and KC & The Sunshine Band performing on the Stella Rosa Wine float.

Adding to the fun will be 16 high-stepping equestrian teams and 21marching bands from as far away as Japan and Panama. This year's Rose Queen Ana Marie Acosta and her court will also be featured as they ride the parade route.

"The 125th Rose Parade" will broadcast in high definition on NBC on January 1, with hosts Al Roker and Hoda Kotb providing color commentary from Pasadena, Calif. spoke to Kotb, who is making her first appearance at the parade. Here is what she had to say about taking part in the spectacular event.

This is your first year doing the parade, how excited are you?

First of all, I am so over the moon doing this parade. When they first asked me about it and they said I would be sitting next to Al Roker, I was like, "Thank God, there won't be any alcohol, which is great." That was a great beginning.

It is just something about the whole deal. I have always had that parade on in my apartment. Usually New Year’s Day is the day your feet are up, you are chilling out and you look over at the television at these spectacular floats. I have listened to Al for years doing it so I think the thrill of being next to him and witnessing the parade live is going to be just such a cool experience.

Al and I did a Mardi Gras parade together. We did the Argus Parade and we had a late flight. We had trouble getting in. We got back to work and Al had to be in for "Wake Up With Al" at the crack of dawn. I came in at my time -- whatever it was, 6:00 or 6:30 a.m. -- and I see Al and Al is in the best mood. He is like, “Hi everybody,” and I said, “Al, I have got to ask you a question. I have never seen you in a bad mood. We were at that parade until late." He looked me in the eye and he said, “I’ll tell you why I am never in a bad mood. Because my dad drove a city bus and I get to come to 30Rock every day.” And I never forgot it. I think Al and I could have fun if we were walking down the street. Now you add in the element of the most spectacular parade ever and it’s just going to be incredible. I can’t tell you how excited I am about it.

When they started this, the idea was to look really good in California and all of us up in the North would wish we were in California and so forth. So, I wanted to ask you as an Easterner when you are out in Pasadena, what is the charm or ambiance of the area? What is it that grabs you once you are there?

We go out periodically for the show and stuff. I think the sunshine on your face is one of those things that is a mood changer. A couple of things are mood changers for me. Sunshine on your face and great music like instantly. And I think that is one of those. There is just a less frenetic vibe that I like. You know, just even the parade. It is obviously a huge platform and it still somehow feels small town. It still feels cozy. It still feels intimate. You know, all these people are watching it on television and so many show up in person, but it still feels that way. I like that small town cozy feel.

The "125th Rose Parade" will air on Wednesday, January 1 from 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. ET/8:30-10:00 a.m. PT on NBC.


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