Tournament House, the hub of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game, is hosting the final tours before the 126th Rose Parade on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. The docent-led tours are free and do not require reservations.
The Wrigley chewing gum family donated their Pasadena mansion to the city in 1958 for use as the Tournament of Roses headquarters. For about half of the year, the Tournament of Roses Association opens the house one day a week for tours, but in the fall, it becomes a beehive of activity where the 935 Tournament volunteers plan the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game, and many related events of America’s New Year’s Celebration.
Tournament House is integral to the entire spectacle of the Tournament of Roses. It’s the place where the Grand Marshal is revealed, where nearly 1,000 young women try out for the Royal Court and the finalists are presented, where the teams for the Rose Bowl Game are announced. It’s the setting for KTLA’s two live pre-parade shows that begin before dawn on parade day and many other events.
Tours run every Thursday promptly at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Visitors should arrive on the porch 10 to 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour, where they will be met by docents. Parts of the mansion are not wheelchair accessible, though the gardens are. The mansion is located at 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena and free street parking is available. For more information, call (626) 449-4100.
The tour opens with a bit of history from one of the docents in the Rose Room, and then visitors are divided into groups to see the rooms that will be are filled with Tournament volunteers and the Rose Queen and her Royal Court in the upcoming months. Much of the house is dedicated to the Rose Parade, but the top floor focuses on the Rose Bowl Game, with photos, trophies and posters on display.
The gardens, which are open to the public year-round, feature more than 1,500 varieties of roses. An expansive lawn studded with slender palm trees slopes up to Tournament House. A gazebo on the south side nestles in a formal rose garden and a rose arbor on the north leads to another.
For photos of the inside of Tournament House, read “Tournament House opens for public tours on Thursday” in this column. For a slideshow of the public gardens, read “Last chance for Tournament House tours before the 2013 Rose Parade.”
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