Ringing in the New Year with a Rose Parade After Party

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted any updates. The Fetterly Bed and Breakfast has been open to New Years house guests and although I welcome good company and enjoy my role as tour guide, I replace blogging time with meal preparation and mountains of dishes. While the dust settles, I thought I’d sneak in a little photo sharing.

Because of our close geographical proximity to Pasadena, the annual January 1st Rose Parade has always been a part of our New Year’s celebrations. It is a REALLY BIG DEAL in our part of the world. I know many friends from other states who aren’t at all interested in watching it on television, so perhaps part of the excitement is determined by whether the floats have ever been seen up close and personal.

Today’s Rose Floats sport highly elaborate , high-tech computerized animation and flowers, seeds and grasses from all over the world. Floats are designed and constructed by professional float building companies, taking up to a year to complete. Most of the Rose Parade activities are facilitated by hundreds of volunteer hours.

This year’s 124th Tournament of Roses Parade included 42 floral floats, 23 marching bands, and 21 equestrian units.

A young couple became man and wife on the Farmer’s Insurance float during the parade.

But the best parade moment was when an army sergeant deployed to Afghanistan, Eric Pazz, stepped off the parade float to surprise his wife and his four-year old son, three months before his redeployment date. What an emotional moment!

Another favorite float was the $247,000 flower-covered float submitted by the Defense Department. The float, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the July 1953 armistice that brought an end to the Korean War, is a replica of the Korean War Memorial.

In case I haven’t told you in the last fifteen minutes how I don’t “do” early morning cold…I watched the parade from the comforts of my home. As a high school student I walked the parade route–as a spectator–many times, but I’m more than happy to see the floats the following day, parked and ready for a more relaxed photo shoot.

Every square inch of visible float is required to be completely covered by seeds, flowers, fruit, vegetables, grasses or other vegetation. No unnatural substances are permitted. The floats are decorated in a two-stage process. The materials that won’t wilt or die are placed first–seeds, beans, bark, straw, seaweed, and then later the more delicate flowers.

After more than an hour of walking about, the little girls were tired and we didn’t want to ruin the experience, so we headed for home before I could see the San Gabriel float. But I was rewarded the next day when the float was parked in our city not far from home.

The San Gabriel Centennial float was the first in 40 years. The float won the Directors’ Award for Outstanding Merit in Design and Presentation and it was really beautiful . The float, covered in seed, cinnamon and flowers, depicts the historic Grapevine Arbor, with two oxen pulling a cart of grapes heading into the winepress. It also includes a bell representing El Camino Real and woven baskets full of grapes and oranges.

I’ll be sharing much more throughout this year as two anniversaries are celebrated–San Gabriel’s Centennial, and the 300th anniversary of the birth of Father Junipero Serra, founder of the San Gabriel Mission and instrumental in the formation of the state’s mission system. The city has a very rich history.

Oh, and one more thing.

I didn’t follow-up with telling you about our New Year’s Eve concert at the Disney Concert Hall, did I? I did take a couple of photos with my iPhone…that is until I was politely told to stop taking photos. Oops! No, that wasn’t embarrassing.

I got a couple of nice shots just under the wire. I’ll share them with you next time.

Now, back to my house guests. We have other field trips we need to plan.