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Ribbon cutting opens Rose Plaza to public at Rose Bowl Stadium Brick Bash

People who purchased bricks for the Rose Bowl’s new Rose Plaza enjoyed hot dogs and watermelon on the mall under the iconic Rose Bowl sign before the ribbon cutting ceremony.
People who purchased bricks for the Rose Bowl’s new Rose Plaza enjoyed hot dogs and watermelon on the mall under the iconic Rose Bowl sign before the ribbon cutting ceremony.
Laura Berthold Monteros

Where else but the Rose Bowl Stadium could a person see so many red jackets gathered in one place? Riding to the hounds, perhaps—the Rose Parade was started by the Valley Hunt Club, after all—but to Pasadenans, a red blazer means one thing: a president or past-president of the Tournament of Roses.

Rose Plaza ribbon cutting: Rose Bowl CEO Darryl Dunn, City Mgr. Michael Beck, Councilwoman Margaret McAustin, TOR Pres. Richard Chinen, Mayor Bill Bogaard, Councilman Victor Gordo, Legacy Campaign Dtr. Andrea Van de Kamp, TOR Exec. Dtr. William Flinn.
Laura Berthold Monteros

A bevy of red-coated past presidents joined current Pres. Richard Chinen and a crowd of hundreds on the patio in front of Gate A for Brick Bash on July 1. The party and ribbon cutting celebrated the opening of the brand new Rose Plaza to the public. The plaza is a huge mosaic of personalized bricks in the shape of the Tournament of Roses logo. It is situated in front of the gate, so even when the stadium is closed, visitors can walk through the plaza.

Dignitaries from the City of Pasadena, Rose Bowl Game Operating Committee, and Tournament of Roses Association spoke while guests munched on hot dogs, watermelon, and beverages. Mayor Bill Bogaard spoke about the tradition of the Tournament, which includes the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game, and a passel of other events. He thanked the Association for “showing the world how to celebrate New Year’s Day.”

Pres. Chinen said the mall from the Court of Champions on the front wall of the stadium to Rose Plaza is “beyond my imagination.” He thanked Libby Wright, past president and current chair of the Rose Bowl Management Committee, and “the Tournament staff, who spearheaded the brick project.” Calling on a sports expression, Chinen said, “When we started in 2009, 2010, we knew it was going to be a big project…. We had to leave our feet when we took on this project.”

For photos and captions of the ribbon cutting and event, click through the slideshow with this article.

The Tournament donated $500,000 towards the project, as did the two historic rival conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12. Bricks are engraved with the names of past presidents, footballers who played in the Rose Bowl Game, Rose Queens, fans of various collegiate teams, and folks who just want to be part of the history of one of the most beautiful stadia in the world.

The Rose Bowl Stadium, modeled after the Yale Bowl and nestled in an arroyo at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains, was built for the Rose Bowl Game, but it is also houses several events throughout the year. It is the home field for UCLA, which just signed a 30-year deal with the Rose Bowl, and an annual Independence Day fireworks extravaganza.

Gloria Shamblin purchased a brick for her two sons, David and Brent Mangrum, who have a different connection to the Rose Bowl. There’s another big event that takes place in the stadium in November. It’s the Turkey Tussle, the final game of the high school football season and homecoming for crosstown rivals John Muir High School and Pasadena High School.

Shamblin told Examiner, “While at Muir they both played four years at Turkey Tussle. David played saxophone. We bought him a new sax the last year of high school. I was always afraid he might damage it rocking out in the tunnel at the Rose Bowl after the game.

“Brent also played in an honor band for the World Cup somewhere in the ’90s. When they were practicing for the Rose Parade and he was in the PCC band they practiced marching around the Rose Bowl.”

Her brick reads

Sons are great
David and Brent
Gloria Shamblin

The bricks are sold by Legacy Connections as part of the Legacy Campaign to fund recent renovations of the historic stadium and are still available. “I would love to encourage more people to buy bricks, Shamblin said. “As one man told me, you put it on your credit card. You notice it for a month and the brick is there for a lifetime for your family to see.”

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