Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year, the Pasadena Way

photo by John Sandel

Please do click on this panorama to enlarge it. John took it with his iPhone inside the Rosemont Pavilion last night, while volunteers and professionals worked feverishly to finish a dozen Tournament of Roses parade floats.

Actually, not feverishly. Fever implies heat and it was chilly in there. But they were working hard. It is estimated that 80,000 volunteer hours will go into this year's Tournament of Roses parade and festival.

Thanks to our friend Terry Griest, a white-suiter and sometime PDP guest photographer, we were treated to a VIP tour. We didn't have to wait in long lines and were were able to get down on the main floor of the pavilion to see the floats up close.

The panorama gives you an idea of the enormity of the place and the work going on there, but it's only an idea. The Rosemont Pavilion houses 12 floats; there will be 47 floats in Saturday's parade. Every surface of the floats is decorated with organic matter, from flowers to coffee beans to kidney beans to carrots. I was intrigued by a plant called "silver leaf," used to decorate the shining armor of a knight on the Bayer company's "Camelot" float.

Here's our tour guide David (thus the term, "white-suiter"). When you see this eagle in the parade it will be at the head of a float ridden by Native American singers and dancers of tribes from all over the United States. And it won't be wearing that plastic shower cap.

If you're camping out on Colorado Blvd. tonight, stay safe and warm, ya nuts!

Here's a photo of how things looked at about 2:00 this afternoon along Colorado Blvd. John was driving and I shot this out his window. Things were just beginning to get a little insane.

Happy New Year from Pasadena!


Mister Earl said...

There's that Mr. E and Terry, who have swapped hometowns!

Steve said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J.J. in L.A. said...

Ahh, this brings back memories! My brothers, friends, and I flowered floats in our teens. Then, for 6 years running, we spent the night on the parade route (well, in a camper). Soooooooo much fun! I think everyone should see the parade in person at least once.

Happy New Year, Petrea!

Dina said...

Lucky us to get such nice inside views.
H-a-p-p-y new year!

Kate said...

Great information! And, it's fun to get an inside peek. Many years ago I spent some time in Ca, and was mightily impressed by the Parade. Haven't watched it on television for years, but you inspired me to do that now! Have a safe and happy New Year!

Anonymous said...


LOVE the Rose Parade coverage. Of course I will watch the parade and, because of the teams, the game, as well. Everybody here is wearing purple--even the river is purple. And with a Big Ten team playing (albeit Wisconsin), it's even more of an event!

Trish said...

wow, I would have estimated *higher* than 80k hours...considering all the floats, all the volunteers and all the ToR folk giving of their time. And yet, there's always a lot of people standing around---as in John's panorama view! ;-)

there is nothing quite like gluing flowers on a float while your hands are freezing. and nothing quite like seeing that float come up Orange Grove and make the turn.

have to agree---sleeping out overnight is way overrated! Nice, warm, snuggly bed is preferred...then again, I'm not much for drinking all night long anymore either...whew, when did *I* get old? ;-)

Happy New Year!

Petrea said...

That's Terry with our own Mister Earl in the right foreground.

Hi "Comment deleted," aka Steve. You are now marked as spam.

J.J., was it freezing? There must have been times when it wasn't so cold.

Happy new year, Dina! Happy new year, Kate! Enjoy the parade.

I'm glad to know it's a big event in Texas, Ginab. I imagine they're excited in Wisconsin, too, if there's anyone left there. Pasadena's so full of Midwestern accents that I'm reverting to mine.

Trish, I think perhaps your second paragraph explains why the volunteers do it. I could see their pride and spirit yesterday in their meticulous craft, and tomorrow they get to show it off to the world.

Mister Earl said...

The photo makes it look like our guide was recoiling from the eagle!

I met a White Suiter yesterday who was born in San Mateo, spent years in San Marino, and now lives in Mountain View. And Terry is a Pasadenan who now lives in Belmont. (Wearing an SF cap in LA opens a lot of doors.) I never realized that White Suiters who no longer live her would continue to participate It would be interesting to know how many ex-patriots are White Suiters.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

Looks to me as if David thinks he's going to be pecked to death by a very large eagle. Is that why they put the bag over his head? (the eagles head...not David's)

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I'd go back and delete my comment if I knew it wasn't going to become spam. Maybe thats what happened to Steve

thanks Earl

we buried my father in his white suit

Petrea said...

"Steve" was trying to get some free advertising, the cheapskate.

I had other pictures of David with the eagle, but J liked this one and I trust him.

PA, I imagine many of those who achieve the white suit would choose to be bury in it. The dedication amazes me.

Ms M said...

Fun to get the "inside scoop"!
Have fun tonight and a very happy new year to come!

Speedway said...

I will look for the eagle on TV tomorrow, sans his raincoat, and for those seedpod-looking thingys at the base of another float.

Mister Earl said...

Was just over at the South Pasadena float. They told me that people, even now, try to steal flowers off of it. They have to guard the floats all night in their spots on Orange Grove because people will take flowers off. They combat this by bringing extra flowers to hand out. People even take flowers off during the parade!

Then, when they bring the float back after the parade, they have to take all the nice decorations off immediately because people will take those, too, even though some have been auctioned off at the Crunch party. My faith in humanity is shattered.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

I have never seen the parade first-hand but your photos will certainly make me feel a part of it all... I will be looking for the eagle tomorrow morning!

Petrea, so glad to have found you this year... what an amazing wealth of friends I have found through blogs. Happy New Year!

Bisous, mon amie!

Jean Spitzer said...

Happy new year.

Thanks for the peek into the prep.

Margaret said...

Those are such great photos. The panorama shot really helps one appreciate the scale of things, and the one with the Eagle is priceless. He does look rather alarmed, doesn't he?

Sandy said...

I haven't camped out there since 1970, when I got really sick with tonsillitis, ha! I will watch it warm and cozy in my house. Nice photo.

altadenahiker said...

That eagle has a lean and hungry look. Happy New Year.

Petrea said...

I just added a snapshot I took as J. and I were driving down Colorado Blvd. this afternoon. Things were only beginning to get crazy. It's already 49 degrees out and supposed to get to 37. Bless 'em, I hope they have a good time and stay warm.

Virginia said...

Oh how much fun to see where the action takes place. I would LOVE to have tagged along. Tell J, that panorama shot with his iPhone is mighty fine! :)

Happy New Year to you, J, and my Bozerino. See you all soon I hope.

Bellis said...

The float decorating pavilion looks stunning - could you smell all the fresh flowers? I can't believe the trouble people are going to to watch the Parade. Fires burning (safely) all along Orange Grove Boulevard, chairs and tables galore. Two years ago, someone brought a widescreen TV along!

Happy New Year to you all, and stay warm tonight!

-K- said...

I was in the Pavilion on Wednesday night to accompany a good friend leave a rose on the "Donate To Life" (organ donor) float. To see all those people, many with photographs of loved ones who had died, work through the night to put the float together makes the parade a much more significant affair.

Petrea said...

I've conveyed your messages, V. I hope to see you soon, too. Good photography exhibits at the Huntington and at the Getty, so come on down!

Strangely, Bellis, I did not smell the flowers. Maybe it was too cold, or maybe they use a preservative that prevents the smellage.

K, there are many beautiful floats but, as was the case last year, the Donate Life float is the most significant. The stories around it (like that of your friend) are heart-rending; almost every flower on it represents a life lost and other lives saved.

Happy new year, my friends. Though it's a relatively arbitrary mark on the calendar, it's a significant tribal celebration for us. Out with the old/bad, in with the new/good. (I'm keeping the old/good.)

Steve Scauzillo said...

I drove through Orange Grove and Colorado Blvd this afternoon. It was a mad house already. Thanks for the shots of the pre-parade. It's calm here in TC. Have a great 2011!

Tash said...

It's almost here! Neat view from the inside. Dear Petrea, from PV to P, we wish you and J. a very Happy New Year. Tash

Shell Sherree said...

You can feel the excitement and anticipation in these lovely photos. Happy New Year {again ~ how fun, I get to celebrate it twice!} dear Petrea, John and Boz.

Petrea said...

Thank you!

If you wish to wash the parade live, it's streaming at