The Rose Parade, hosted by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, is an annual parade to mark the start of the Rose Bowl Game, held mostly along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, on New Year's Day (or on Monday, January 2 if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday). Produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the parade usually starts at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time (UTC–8), and includes flower-covered floats, marching bands, and equestrian units. The parade is followed in the afternoon by the Rose Bowl, one of the major bowl games in college football. It has been uninterrupted, despite both world wars and the Great Depression.
First held on January 1, 1890, hundreds of thousands of spectators watch the Rose Parade in person, and millions more watch it on television - both in the U.S. and in more than 100 international territories and countries worldwide. The Rose Bowl college football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade. Since 2011, Honda sponsors the Rose Parade. Accordingly, the company has the parade's first float, which like all floats, follows the parade's theme.
The 2020 Rose Parade had featured 40 floats, 17 equestrian units with over 450 horses, and 20 marching bands. The theme of this 131st Rose Parade is "Power of Hope" and the Co-Grand Marshals of the parade are Laurie Hernández, Rita Moreno from The Electric Company, and Gina Torres.
Members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club first staged the parade in 1890. Since then the parade has been held in Pasadena every New Year's Day, except when January 1 falls on a Sunday. In that case, it is held on the subsequent Monday, January 2. This exception was instituted in 1893, as organizers did not wish to disturb horses hitched outside Sunday church services. (This event was held even during the Great Depression & all years of both World Wars.)
Many of the members of the Valley Hunt Club were former residents of the American East and Midwest. They wished to showcase their new California home's mild winter weather. At a club meeting, Professor Charles F. Holder announced, "In New York, people are buried in the snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise."
So the club organized horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers, followed by foot races, polo matches, and a game of tug-of-war on the town lot that attracted a crowd of 2,000 to the event. Upon seeing the scores of flowers on display, the professor decided to suggest the name "Tournament of Roses."
Over the next few founding years, the parade added marching bands and motorized floats. By 1895, the event was too large for the Valley Hunt Club to handle, resulting in the formation of an ad-hoc non-profit organization - the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. By the 11th annual tournament (1900), the town lot on which the activities were held was renamed Tournament Park, a large open area directly adjacent to Pasadena's world-famous institution of higher learning, Caltech. Activities soon included ostrich races, bronco busting demonstrations, and an odd novelty race between a camel and an elephant. (The elephant won the race.) Soon reviewing stands were built along the parade route and newspapers in Eastern Seaboard cities started to take notice of the event.
The stately Italian Renaissance-style mansion of William Wrigley Jr. (the maker of Wrigley's chewing gum) was offered to the city of Pasadena after Mrs. Wrigley's death in 1958, under the condition that their home would be the Rose Parade's permanent headquarters. Tournament House is the name given to the former home where the organization is headquartered.
The first associated football game was played on January 1, 1902. Originally titled the "Tournament East-West football game," it is considered to be the first Rose Bowl. The next game was not played until New Year's Day 1916; they have been played annually since then. The game derives its modern name from Rose Bowl Stadium, which was built for the 1923 game.
In 2002 and 2006 (when the Rose Bowl Game was the BCS National Championship Game), the "Granddaddy of 'em all" was not held the same day as the parade; the 2002 game was played on January 3, the 2006 game was played on January 4. Not all fans are pleased with the change; some thought the atmosphere and tradition of the Rose Bowl are lost. Once the BCS title game was separated from the host bowl, it no longer affected the date of the Rose Bowl Game (even when the title game returned to Pasadena in 2010 and 2014).
The Tournament of Roses Parade has followed the same route mainly following Colorado Boulevard (Pasadena's main thoroughfare and a segment of the former US 66) for many decades. The day before the parade, the entire environs of the neighborhood streets south of the intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado Blvds. are sealed off and reserved for the marshaling of the dozens of floats, bands, equestrian units, and other elements. This sealed-off section acts as the "Formation Area", and the Formation Area Committee manages it.
On parade morning the various elements are merged and dispatched in front of Tournament House. The parade starts headed north on South Orange Grove Boulevard beginning at Green Street. At Colorado Boulevard it passes the main grandstands (and the main television and media stands) and proceeds east on Colorado Boulevard. The parade then turns north on Sierra Madre Boulevard. The floats then must travel under the Sierra Madre Boulevard/I-210 freeway overpass, requiring over-height floats to reduce their height. The parade ends at Paloma Street near Victory Park and Pasadena High School. Floats continue into the Post-Parade viewing area (which is open that afternoon and the following day). In total this route is 5.5 miles (8.9 km) long; the assembled bands, horse units, and floats take approximately two hours to pass by.
The 2009 parade featured 46 floats, including some new entries, such as Jack in the Box's Jack-O-Licious, City of Mission Viejo's Making a Splash, RFD-TV's Hee Haw, and the City of Roseville's Entertaining Dreams for a Century.
The 2010 parade saluted the men and women serving America throughout the world with a flyover at the beginning of the parade by four F/A-18 jets (performed by pilots of the Fighting Redcocks of Strike Fighter Squadron 22 (VFA-22) from the Naval Air Station at Lemoore, California).
New floats that joined the 2011 Rose Parade were: Beverly Hills Tournament of Roses Committee, Cunard Line, Dole, Los Angeles County Firemen's Benefit & Welfare: Never Forget 9/11 "Remember, Reflect, Renew", UNO 40th Anniversary, "Messina Wildlife Management", Namco Bandai Games Inc., "Quikrete" Cement & Concrete Products, "Saving America's Mustangs Foundation", and Shriner's Hospitals For Children.
The 2012 Rose Parade had 43 floats, 21 bands, and 18 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses. The honor for being the last units in the parade went to All American Cowgirl Chicks (Equestrian), Needham Broughton High School (Band), and RFD-TV (Float). It also featured the first-ever Swedish entry, the Royal Swedish Navy Cadet Band.
The 2013 parade featured 42 floats, 23 marching bands, and 21 equestrian units. New for the 2013 Rose Parade were floats from Nurses' float "A Healing Place", Delta Sigma Theta, and the city of San Gabriel centennial float "Celebrating Our Journey". It began with the Wells Fargo/Opening Unit, American Honda's float, the U.S. Marine Corps's Mounted Color Guard and the U.S. Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band. Farmers Insurance's "Love Float" featured the wedding of a Virginia couple, Nicole and Gerald of Chesapeake, VA, which was officiated by nationally syndicated radio personality Sean Valentine. The couple was selected through a first-ever public vote by the American people. The parade's closing unit featured Coco Jones of the Disney Channel.
Featured in the 2014 parade were 45 floats, including new floats from eHarmony, K9s4COPS, Public Storage ("Adventures In Space") and SeaWorld. Actor, director, writer, producer Garry Marshall played the role of "director" on Burbank's "Lights...camera...action!" float. KC and the Sunshine Band were featured on Stella Rosa Wine's "Stellabrate Good Times" float. Performing on the e-Harmony float was Natalie Cole, singing "This Will Be". NBC's The Voice joined this parade too, along with Daryl Hall and the Harlem Globetrotters. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation float ("Living the Dream: Love Is the Best Protection") featured a wedding of a California couple, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair; some people called for a boycott of the parade as the couple are actually both men. Nancy O'Dell, along with Jonathan and Drew Scott (of the Property Brothers) co-hosted the parade.
The 2016 parade featured 44 floats, 19 equestrian units, and 20 marching bands. New participants were Los Angeles Lakers, City of Irvine Chamber of Commerce, South Dakota Tourism, the California Milk Advisory Board, PBS (featuring Downton Abbey), and Union Bank. It marked the end of Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards's participation in the parade for local television station KTLA. Singpoli Group's float "Marco Polo East Meets West", constructed by float builder Paradiso was judged as the sweepstakes winner, the "Most beautiful entry in the Parade with outstanding floral presentation and design."
Originally the parade featured flower-decorated horse carriages. Over time, floats built by volunteers from sponsoring communities supplanted the carriages. Currently, most are built by professional float building companies and take nearly a year to construct. Some communities and organizational sponsors still rely on volunteers. The Valley Hunt Club still enters a flower-decorated carriage. The Cal Poly Universities Rose Float still relies solely on students who volunteer, with the present day requirement that "every inch of every float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark". Floats are self-propelled on (generally used-up) truck chassis in contrast to the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade which uses trailer-based floats pulled by new, intact (sponsor-provided) trucks.
Typically 48 to 72 hours before parade day, one can view several of the floats being decorated with flowery mantles in the various 'float barns' that dot the Arroyo Seco / Rose Bowl area in West Pasadena, not far from the start of the parade. It is a rule of the parade that all surfaces of the float framework must be covered in natural materials (such as flowers, plants, seaweeds, seeds, bark, vegetables, or nuts, for example); furthermore, no artificial flowers or plant material are allowed, nor can the materials be artificially colored. Last-minute volunteer opportunities are usually available.
Anaheim city's float at the 2008 Rose Parade included the Stanley Cup that the NHL's Anaheim Ducks had won last season, hoisted by player Brad May. (As the regulations state that the outside of the float must exclusively use organic material, ABC commentators speculated that the city got an exception to display the Cup.) Also, the Los Angeles Dodgers had a float in celebration of the franchise's 50th anniversary in Los Angeles, with Hall of Fame sportscasters Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrin as well as former players Steve Garvey, Fernando Valenzuela, Eric Karros, and Nomar Garciaparra.
The 2010 parade floats included the Boy Scouts of America's 100th Anniversary float, the Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles in celebration of Mexico's bicentennial of independence, and "Safety Harbor Kids". The 2010 parade also featured a 113-foot-long (34 m) float from Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, which set a Guinness world record for the longest single-chassis float. The City of West Covina paid tribute to the "service and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen" with a float entitled "Tuskegee Airmen – A Cut Above", which featured a large bald eagle, two replica World War II "Redtails" fighter planes, and historical images of some of the airmen who served our country. The float won the Mayor's trophy as the most outstanding city entry – national or international, also Anaheim float featured the 2010 Major League Baseball All-Star Game that was played at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, four former MLB All-Stars, pitchers Mark Langston, Chuck Finley, and Troy Percival, along with second baseman Bobby Grich were aboard.
Since January 1, 2012, fell on a Sunday, tradition dictated that the parade would be held on Monday, January 2, 2012. The 2012 Rose Parade had 43 floats, featuring the LMU Centennial Celebration float, and the Girl Scouts of the USA 100th Anniversary float (entitled "What Will You Do Today?"). Float builder Fiesta Floats donated their services to the design of the Girl Scouts float, which was decorated by the organization's volunteers (of all ages). Paramount Pictures also participated in the 2012 parade with its centennial celebration float "100 Years of Movie Magic". Namco Bandai Games joined the parade for the first time, commemorating the Power Rangers. Others were Microsoft Kinect ("You are the Controller") and the Kit-Cat Klock ("Timeless Fun for Everyone").
The floats compete for one of 24 awards selected by three judges each year. The 2013 parade float judges were esteemed floral designer Shane Connolly, Macy's marketing executive and event producer Amy Kule, and Brian Sullivan, an executive with Southern California's Descanso Gardens. Since Honda became the title sponsor, its floats are not eligible to compete for an award.
After the parade, the floats are parked at the end of the parade route on Sierra Madre Boulevard and Washington Boulevard, near Victory Park and are on display for a day and a half (two-and-a-half days when January 1 falls on Friday) after the parade. None of the float riders or dignitaries/celebrities involved in the parade are present, and animated features on some floats are not activated. Admission to the viewing area is $13 and children are admitted free.
From the beginning horses have played a part in the Rose Parade. Thousands of riders have made the trek down Colorado Boulevard. "The Tournament equestrian family grows bigger and stronger every year as it welcomes the new equestrians who come to share the magic of New Year's Day and appreciate the commitment to excellence and professionalism exhibited by the returning equestrian units to the parade," according to the Tournament of Roses.
Prior to the parade an "Equestfest" is held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to showcase the performances by the talented riding teams. Equestrian units taking part in "Equestfest" have included the Clydesdales of the First Cavalry Division from U.S. Army Fort Hood, "Traveler" (the USC mascot), the Sons and Daughters of the Reel West, and the California State Fire Fighters Association. Bob Eubanks and Shawn Parr have served as announcers at "Equestfest."
Montie Montana was a perennial participant until his death in 1998. TV viewers know him from more than 60 appearances, waving to the crowd from his silver saddle.
2010: 23 units – All American Cowgirl Chicks, Amigos de Anza Equestrian Drill Team, Arizona Mini Mystique Driving Drill Team, Benny Martinez Family, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Giddy Up Gals, L.A. County Sheriff – Mounted Enforcement, Long Beach Mounted Police, Medieval Times, The New Buffalo Soldiers, Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers, Region 1 Versatile Arabians, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, The Shire Riders, So Cal Peruvian Paso Horse Club, U.S. Army Ft. Hood – 1st Cavalry, USMC – Color Guard, USMC – Mountain Warfare Training, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo, and Western Haflinger Association.
2011: 22 units – 1st Cavalry Fort Hood, All American Cowgirl Chicks, Benny Martinez Family, California State Firefighters' Association, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Equine Extremist with Tommie Turvey, Giddy Up Gals Drill Team, Kern County Sheriffs Mounted Posse, Long Beach Mounted Police, Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, New Buffalo Soldiers, Region One Arabians, Saving America's Mustangs Foundation, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Southern California Peruvian Paso Horse Club, Spirit of the West Riders, The Shire Riders, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo, and Wild West Willie (combined with Kern County Sheriffs Mounted Posse).
2012: 22 units – The All American Cowgirl Chicks, Arizona Mini Mystique, Broken Horn Ropers, Calgary Stampede Showriders (riding with the Calgary Stampede Showband), Calizona Appaloosas, Cowgirls Historical Foundation, Escondido Mounted Police, First Cavalry Fort Hood (US Army), Kings County Sheriff's Posse, LAPD Mounted Unit, Long Beach Mounted Police, Los Hermanos Banuelos, Medieval Times, Merced County Sheriff's Posse, New Buffalo Soldiers, The Santa Rosa Palomino Club, So Cal Peruvian Pasos, Spirit of the West, War Horse Militia, US Marine Corps, Valley Hunt Club, and Wells Fargo.
2013: 20 units – 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, All American Cowgirl Chicks, Anaheim Police Department Mounted Enforcement Unit, Canadian Cowgirls Precision Drill Team, Costumed Arabians Region One, Hawaii Pāʻū Riders, Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team, Jackson Fork Ranch Percherons, Long Beach Mounted Police, Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Medieval Times, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, ONDAR and the Eagles of Tuva, Prime Time Express Mounted Drill Team, Ramona Pageant, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, SD Farm, Spirit of the West Riders, Valley Hunt Club, Wells Fargo.
2014: 16 units – All American Cowgirl Chicks, Budweiser Clydesdales, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team, Los Angeles Police Metropolitan Division Mounted Platoon/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Mounted Enforcement Detail, The Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Norwegian Fjord Horse Registry, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Spirit of the West Riders, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, War Horse Foundation, Wells Fargo. Equestfest will take place December 29, 2013.
2015: 18 units – 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment, Budweiser Clydesdales, Hawaii Pa’u Riders, Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team, Los Angeles County Fire Department, The Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara, Prime Time Express Mounted Drill Team, Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds, Spirit of the West Riders, United States Forest Service Pack String, United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society, Wells Fargo.
2016: 19 units – 1st Cavalry Horse Detachment – Fort Hood, American Endurance Ride Conference, Anheuser Busch Budweiser Clydesdales, Calizona Appaloosa Horse Club, Dakota Thunder Shires, Long Beach Mounted Police, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, Los Hermanos Bañuelos, Martinez Family, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, National Park Service, The New Buffalo Soldiers, The Norco Cowgirls & The Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team, Scripps Miramar Ranch, Spirit of the West Riders, U.S. Army Field Artillery Half Section – Fort Sill, U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard, Valley Hunt Club, and Wells Fargo.
2017: 20 units – 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment (Fort Hood, Texas), Backcountry Horsemen of California – Mid-Valley Unit (Sonora, California), Budweiser Clydesdales (St. Louis, Missouri), California Highway Patrol Mounted Patrol Unit (Sacramento, California), Kern County Sheriff's Mounted Posse (Bakersfield, California), Los Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team (Altadena, California), Mane Attraction Equestrian Drill Team (Riverside, California), Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament (Buena Park, California), The New Buffalo Soldiers (Shadow Hills, California), The Norco Cowgirls & The Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team (Norco, California), Philippine Scouts Heritage Society – U.S. Army's 26th Cavalry Regiment (Los Angeles, California), Santa Barbara County Sheriff Mounted Enforcement Unit (Santa Barbara, California), Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds (San Diego, California), Seven Oaks Farm Miniature Therapy Horses (Hamilton, Ohio), Spirit of the West Riders (Leona Valley, California), Union Rescue Mission – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California), United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard (Barstow, California), Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena, California), Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society (San Diego, California), and Wells Fargo Stagecoaches (Los Angeles, California)
2018: 20 units – 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment (Fort Hood, Texas), Broken Horn Ropers (Baldwin Park, California), Budweiser Clydesdales (St. Louis, Missouri), California Highway Patrol Mounted Patrol Unit (Sacramento, California), Long Beach Mounted Police (Long Beach, California), Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Mounted Enforcement Detail (Los Angeles, California), The Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Division Mounted Platoon, Honor Guard, Bagpipe & Drum Band (Los Angeles, California), Los Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team (Altadena, California), Mane Attraction Equestrian Drill Team (Riverside, California), Mini Therapy Horses (Calabasas, California), The New Buffalo Soldiers (Shadow Hills, California), The Norco Cowgirls & The Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Teams (Norco, California), Ramona – California's Official Outdoor Play (Hemet, California), Scripps Miramar Ranch (San Diego, California), So Cal Mini Horse Sanctuary, Inc. (Hemet, California), Spirit of the West Riders (Leona Valley, California), United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard (Barstow, California), The Valley Center Vaqueros (Valley Center, California), The Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena, California) Wells Fargo Stagecoaches (Meeker, Oklahoma)
2019: 18 units – 1st Cavalry Division, Horse Cavalry Detachment (Fort Hood, Texas), Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team (Castaic, California), Budweiser Clydesdales (St. Louis, Missouri), Calgary Stampede Showriders (Strathmore, Alberta, Canada) California Highway Patrol (Sacramento, California), Gold Rush Fire Brigade (Pilot Hill, California), Hawaii Pa’u Riders (Waimanalo, Hawaii), Los Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team (Altadena, California), Mini Therapy Horses (Calabasas, California), Parsons Mounted Cavalry (College Station, Texas), Scripps Miramar Ranch (San Diego, California), Spirit of the West Riders (Leona Valley, California), The New Buffalo Soldiers (Shadow Hills, California), The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team & Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Jr. Drill Team (Norco, California), The Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena, California), United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard (Barstow, California), US Forest Service Pack Mules Celebrate Smokey Bear's 75th (Vallejo, California), Wells Fargo Stagecoaches (San Francisco, California)
2020: 17 units– 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment (Fort Hood, Texas), Arabian Horse Association (Sierra Madre, California), Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team (Castaic, California), Budweiser Clydesdales (St. Louis, Missouri), Buffalo Soldiers Mounted Cavalry Unit (BSMCU) (Mojave, California), Express Clydesdales (Yukon, Oklahoma), Horsewomen of Temecula Wine Country (Temecula Eq-Wine Riders), Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, California), Los Hermanos Banuelos (Altadena, California), Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team (New Buffalo, Michigan), Mini Therapy Horses (Calabasas, California), Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers (Roseville, California), Rural Media Group (Gretna, Nebraska), Scripps Miramar Ranch (San Diego, California), Spirit of the West Riders (Leona Valley, California), USMC Mounted Color Guard (Barstow, California), The Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena, California)
Top marching bands from all over the world are invited. Many of the nation's top high school marching bands, along with college and organizational marching bands participate.
The bands participating in the parade have developed traditions throughout its history. For example, Pasadena City College's Tournament of Roses Honor Band always marches in the Rose Parade, along with the Los Angeles Unified School District All City Honor Band, all of whom are selected by audition the previous autumn. Positions in both bands are coveted, and those selected are among the best student musicians in California.
The Tournament of Roses Honor Band's Herald Trumpets unit marches and plays directly before the Rose Queen's float. Nine trumpet players and one snare drummer are selected from those who audition for the band for the unit.
University marching bands from the two schools competing in the Rose Bowl Game are invited to march in the parade. They typically accompany the float that represents the school and conference.
Bands that have a long-standing arrangement to be in the parade include:
- The official Tournament of Roses Honor Band hosted by Pasadena City College consisting of members of the college's Lancer Marching Band and talented high school musicians from throughout California (89th Rose Parade appearance in 2018).
- The Los Angeles Unified School District All City Honor Band
- The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Marching Band consisting of local and visiting Salvation Army musicians (100th appearance in 2019)
- The United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band
In 1891, the Monrovia Town Band was the first musical group to perform in the Rose Parade. In 1998, the Washington Township High School Minutemen Marching Band from Sewell, New Jersey became the first band in the history of the Rose Parade to decorate its entire ranks with live flowers, in keeping with the practice of decorating the parade floats. From the neighboring town of Arcadia, the Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band and Colorgaurd has appeared for 15 years, returning about every four years. The Allen Eagle Escadrille from Allen, Texas had a record breaking 780 members in the 2016 Rose Parade.
In addition to the parade, the bands participate in a two-day, three-show Bandfest at Pasadena City College's Jackie and Mack Robinson Stadium, usually on December 29 and 30 (December 30 and 31 when the parade is on January 2). Twenty bands participated in the 2016 parade.
Rose Parade Theme
Shortly after the parade in January, the newly elected President of the Tournament of Roses has the duty of picking a theme for the forthcoming festivities. Most of the floral floats in the parade are inspired by this theme.
In mid-October 2019, Laura Farber was confirmed as President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. She announced that the theme for the 131st Rose Parade and 106th Rose Bowl Game is Power of Hope. The parade and bowl game will be held on 1 January 2020. The Tournament of Roses President will lead the 14-member Executive Committee and the organization of 935 volunteer members for the upcoming year.
The Grand Marshal of the parade is an honorary position selected by the president of the Tournament. Many are picked for a relationship to the theme that is also picked by the president.
The 2019 Grand Marshal was singer Chaka Khan. The 2018 Grand Marshal was Oscar nominee and distinguished humanitarian Gary Sinise. For the 2017 parade, Greg Louganis, Janet Evans and Allyson Felix served as marshals. Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns was selected as the 2016 Grand Marshal.
The 2015 parade Grand Marshal was to be Louis Zamperini. After his death on July 2, 2014, the Tournament announced that it was "committed to honoring him as the Grand Marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade." During the parade, USC mascot Traveler walked in his place, riderless to honor Zamperini.
Vin Scully was chosen as the Grand Marshal of the 2014 parade and Rose Bowl Game. Previously, President Sally Bixby named Jane Goodall as the Grand Marshal for the 2013 parade, succeeding J. R. Martinez, the 2012 grand marshal.
Food Network star Paula Deen was the Grand Marshal of the 2011 parade. Captain Chesley Sullenberger was the 2010 Grand Marshal and actress Cloris Leachman served as the 2009 Grand Marshal, the 10th female grand marshal in the history of the parade. Mary Pickford was the first female Grand Marshal. Other Hollywood celebrities who appeared as Grand Marshal are Leo Carrillo, Harold Lloyd, Walt Disney, John Wayne, George Lucas, and Bob Hope.
Repeat Marshals of the Tournament of Roses Parade
- Shirley Temple (1928–2014), 1939, 1989, 1999
- Charles Daggett, 1900, 1901, 1914
- Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969), 1951, 1964 (note that Cpl. Robert S. Gray filled in for him in 1951)
- Bob Hope (1903–2003), 1947, 1969
- Richard Nixon (1913–1994), 1953, 1960
- C. C. Reynolds, 1902, 1903
- Dr. Francis F. Rowland, 1890, 1892, 1894, 1904, 1905, 1910, 1916
- Dr. Ralph Skillen, 1907, 1908, 1911
- Edwin Stearns, 1896, 1897
- Martin H. Weight, 1898, 1899
- Earl Warren (1891–1974), 1943, 1955
Rose Queen and Royal Court
Each September, some 1,000 young women (and a few young men) between the ages of 17 to 21, interview for the honor of serving as a member of the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. The Pasadena Tournament of Roses administers a selection process to determine which greater Pasadena-area young women will have the honor of being crowned Queen of the Tournament of Roses, or more commonly known as "Rose Queen." In addition to one Rose Queen, six Rose Princesses will also be selected to make up the Royal Court. The Royal Court will then ride on a specially-designed float in the Rose Parade and will also preside over the Rose Bowl Game. The Royal Court will also attend over one hundred events in the Southern California area as ambassadors of the Tournament of Roses.
The 2015 Rose Queen is Madison Triplett (John Marshall Fundamental High School). Members of the Royal Court are Mackenzie Byers (Pasadena City College), Gabrielle Current (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Veronica Mejia (Pasadena City College), Bergen Onufer (Mayfield Senior School), Simona Shao (Westridge School) and Emily Stoker (Temple City High School).
The 2016 Rose Queen is Erika Karen Winter (Flintridge Preparatory School). Members of the Royal Court are Natalie Breanne Hernandez-Barber (Alverno High School), Donaly Elizabeth Marquez (Blair International Baccalaureate School), Bryce Marie Bakewell (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy), Rachelle Liu (San Marino High School), Regina Pullens (Maranatha High School), and Sarah Shaklan (La Canada High School).
The 2017 Rose Queen is Victoria "Tori" Castellanos (Temple City High School).
Isabella Marez of La Salle High School was crowned as the 100th Tournament of Roses Queen on October 18, 2017. Other members of the 2018 Royal Court: Julianne Lauenstein (La Cañada High School); Sydney Pickering (Arcadia High School); Savannah Bradley (Pasadena High School); Georgia Cervenka (La Cañada High School); Lauren Buehner (Arcadia High School); Alexandra Artura (Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy).
More recent attendance figures are followed by the TV and predicted attendance in parentheses. Most estimates are conducted by the Tournament of Roses and the Pasadena Police Department. A number of studies were conducted by the Anderson School of Management at UCLA on attendance and economic impact to Southern California. The Los Angeles Times ran a study in 1980 that said the actual attendance at the parade was actually about 60% of what is claimed each year.
- 1890 – 2,000
- 2002 – 800,000 (1,000,000; drop blamed on 9/11.)
- 2004 – 1,000,000
- 2009 – 700,000 (Pasadena had 1,000,000 visitors during the week of the parade.)
- 2011 – 700,000
- 2012 – 700,000 (with an estimated 70 million watching via worldwide television).
- 2013 – 700,000
The Rose Parade is televised on ABC, NBC, Univision (in Spanish), HGTV, Sky Link TV (in Mandarin and Cantonese), Hallmark Channel, RFD TV, and KTLA (the latter three offer interruption-free coverage, although KTLA continues to repeat the parade throughout the day with commercials, and starting 2020 it has been livestreamed on its Youtube page). WGN-TV in Chicago carried KTLA's uninterrupted coverage of the 2009 parade (WGN and KTLA have historically been sister stations via former owner Tribune Media). Until 2005, the parade was also broadcast on CBS, and KTTV also televised the parade from the station's sign-on in 1949 until 1995. ABC serves as the official broadcaster of the parade, and its sister network ESPN currently airs the Rose Bowl (which formerly aired on ABC).
- The 1947 parade was the first to be televised (on KTLA). However, reportedly experimental station W6XAO (now KCBS-TV) broadcast the 1940 parade.
- The 1954 parade was also the first program televised in the NTSC color television format nationwide on NBC.
- The 1989 parade was broadcast in 3D on KTTV.
- The 1999 parade was first broadcast in high definition television (HDTV) on KTLA.
- The 2004 parade was first time aired in Chinese Mandarin language on Chinese TV station: Sky Link TV.
- The 2009 Parade was broadcast to 217 countries (79 countries live) in over 20 languages.
- The Tournament of Roses website had approximately 13 million hits during the week of the 2009 parade.
- The website was viewed in 150 countries.
- The 2010 Parade was watched via TV in 127 countries including China.
- The 2011 Parade had a total television reach of approximately 47 million television viewers in the U.S. and was seen by approximately 28 million viewers internationally.
- The 2013 Parade was also streamed on Xbox Live via both their WatchESPN (U.S.) and Live Event Player (all other countries) applications.
- In 2018 and 2019, Funny or Die partnered with Amazon Video to produce a comedic broadcast of the parade, starring Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon as the characters of Cord Hosenbeck and Tish Cattigan—who were claimed to have been local newscasters for 25 years. The 2018 broadcast was nominated at the 71st Writers Guild of America Awards for Best Comedy/Variety Special.
Each year, the newly elected Tournament of Roses President is responsible for selecting the year's theme and grand marshal. Preparation and construction of the floral floats theoretically begins after the theme is announced. The selection of marching bands is already well under way except for Rose Bowl Game college bands. In 2005, Libby Evans Wright was elected as the first female president of the Association.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses appointed former Los Angeles Times executive P. Scott McKibben as its executive director in 2010, replacing John M. (Mitch) Dorger, who had served as CEO since 2000. On September 8, 2011, he resigned for personal reasons. Chief Operating Officer William B. Flinn was named interim executive director. From March 1, 2012 to January 2, 2017, William B. Flinn took over the role of Executive Director. David Eads became the Executive Director in 2017.
Operations and the parade
The Tournament of Roses has become such a large event that it requires 65,000 hours of combined manpower each year, or the equivalent of roughly 7.42 years of combined manpower. Fortunately for the Association, the group has 935 members, each of whom is assigned to one of 34 committees, and around 50 student ambassadors. Responsibilities include:
- Selecting Parade participants
- Inspecting and testing floats for safe and reliable operation
- Assembling the parade elements
- Conducting the parade through the streets of Pasadena
- Directing visitors on New Year's Day
- Assisting the public and the media in viewing the parade
- Giving presentations about the Tournament to community groups
- Supervising elements of the Rose Bowl Game (and also the BCS National Championship Game when held in Pasadena)
During the Parade, many Tournament members are required to wear white suits with red ties, name tags, membership pins and official ribbons. Because of this, the volunteers are commonly referred to as "White Suiters." In December each year, a fleet of white vehicles with special "ToR" license plates are seen throughout the San Gabriel Valley. The use of these cars is currently donated by American Honda for use by high-ranking Tournament members.
Each year, an honor troop of Eagle Scouts from the San Gabriel Valley Council, (now GLAAC), and "The Tournament Troop" of Girl Scout Gold Award recipients of the Arcadia Service Unit of the Girl Scouts Greater Los Angeles, is selected to carry the parade banners down the route. Each year, for the last 35 years, more than 100 scouts have participated.
The Tournament of Roses Radio Amateurs (TORRA) provided audio communications and video co-ordination for the parade officials through the use of Amateur radio from 1968 until 2005. With over 300 ham radio operators in TORRA there were several ham radio sites along the parade route equipped with amateur television as well as 2-way ham radios. Several mobile units – including motorcycles and pedestrian units (creepie-peepies) provided the video coverage. With modern technology and cell phone service, TORRA was no longer needed.
Thousands more volunteers help cover the floats in those beautiful flower and seed mixes during "Deco week," Dec 26- parade day. Many of these come back year after year, some even camp nearby to help all week long.
For the 2006 Tournament of Roses Parade on January 2 (it is always held on January 2 when January 1 falls on a Sunday) winds with gusts up to 45 mph (72 km/h) and five inches (130 mm) of rain in the Pasadena area were predicted. The forecast proved accurate, ruining the 51 year record of good weather for the parade. It rained continuously and heavily throughout the entire 2006 parade. The President of the Tournament, the Grand Marshal of the Parade and the executive committee, deliberated into the early morning at the Tournament House. With street rumors circulating of the parade being canceled or postponed and restlessness of the crowd further east along the parade route, the parade got underway despite the bleak weather. Low television ratings and poor attendance plagued the ceremony. Some floats sustained water damage by the end of the parade.
- Royal Court Interviews
- Royal Ball
- Rose Queen Announcement and Coronation Ceremony
- Selection Sunday
- Lawry's Beef Bowl
- Decorating Places (for float viewing), various "barns"
- Equestfest, Los Angeles Equestrian Center
- Bandfest, Pasadena City College
- Teams Day, Disneyland Resort
- Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Ceremony, Rose Bowl
- Rose Bowl Game Public Tailgate
- Rose Bowl Game
- Post Parade (for float viewing), Washington and Sierra Madre Boulevards
- January 2, 1922 – First parade not held on New Year's Day (The parade is traditionally never held on a Sunday because when it was first started the Tournament did not want the horses to get spooked by the church bells)
- January 3, 2002 – Tournament of Roses hosted the first BCS National Championship where Miami defeated Nebraska, 37-14, and the Parade and the Rose Bowl Game were held on separate days
- The animated 2007 movie "The Bee Movie" featured the Tournament of Roses
- January 1, 2014 – The first same-sex marriage at the parade was held, for Aubrey Loots and Danny LeClair.
- January 1, 2019 - The parade was delayed near the end of the two-hour broadcast by NBC and ABC when the float commemorating the 150th anniversary of the First Transcontinental Railroad with the placing of the Golden Spike, entitled "Harmony Through Union", suffered a minor fire and blocked the parade route. The volunteers on board were able to evacuate safely, and the float was secured by LASD deputies and Pasadena police until it could be moved to allow the parade to resume, being able to still finish the parade while being towed.
- Tournament of Roses Parade official site
- The Rose Diaries
- Tournament of Roses Parade at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television
- Rose Parade 2017, Pasadena, California
- Rose Parade float, 1936 at the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive (Collection 1429). UCLA Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles.