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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

121st Rose Parade

As I was saying... the Rose Parade was incredible! Originally started as part of a floral festival in 1890, the Rose Parade is now televised and viewed by 40 million Americans and many millions more in 200 territories around the world. I've watched it on TV basically every year of my life and have always been so impressed. And would you have guessed? It's even more impressive when you're up close and personal. And by up close and personal, I mean so stinking close the floats could have run over our toes. See?

I love our little serene square in the middle of the craziness (I also love that everyone is cheering at the camera in this picture). Since we were right next to the intersection where the floats turned, we could see the floats from every single angle AND they had to slow down by us to make the turn. Best seats in the house, kids. Anyway, back to the parade.

The Grand Marshal is always someone famous and the list of previous honorees includes people like Bob Hope, Walt Disney and Shirley Temple. You may recognize this year's Grand Marshal--Captain Chelsey Sullenberger, the pilot from the Miracle on the Hudson (a fellow Air Force Academy grad, by the way).

The Rose Parade's uniqueness comes largely from the float regulations--the entire surface of every single float must be covered with natural elements such as leaves, bark, seeds and flowers. The design and workmanship of the floats is unbelievable! And in addition to the amazing floats, the Rose Parade boasts some of the best equestrian riders in the West as well as top marching bands from around the country.

The neatest band in the entire parade--by far--was the Ohio State School for the Blind. If you haven't heard about this band, you need to. I saw this special about them on CBS Evening News a few months back and was touched to see them perform in person.

Mixed among the bands were the equestrian riders...

...who were followed closely by the
pooper scoopers.

There were also the princesses (called the Rose Queen and the Royal Court)...

... as well as the cheerleaders from Oregon and Ohio State, who would face off in the Rose Bowl later that afternoon.

And, of course, the floats--with lots and lots of roses.

Quite a few of the floats had famous people on them. Some notables include the
Tuskegee Airmen...

...the Anaheim Angels...

...and Jackie Chan himself, who was recording the crowd with his iPhone as he passed by. Right after I took this picture, a lady ran through the crowd to shake his hand and was almost run over by a body guard on a
Vespa. Awesome.

I know boy scouts aren't exactly "famous" but we'll pretend for a minute because their float was really cool! The best part was that it was surrounded in front & back by dozens upon dozens of boy scouts carrying
over-sized merit badges. (We couldn't help but wonder how many of them were LDS.)

Le Pew also made an appearance, and there was endless entertainment as float after float after float came by--each once so intricate and unique. I highly encourage clicking on the picture below to see some of my favorites a little better. Keep in mind that everything on the floats has to be grown (see the leaves making up the scales on the dragon below).

My absolute favorite, however, was the Sweepstakes Trophy Winner. It was made by a sprinkler company called "Rain Bird," whose floats have taken home the top prize nine of the past fourteen years. This time, it used 1500 gallons of recycled water in numerous little waterfalls as a family of gorillas--made with buffalo hair--
traipsed around a mountain jungle. It was, quite simply, amazing.

After the parade, we took a picture with the Hendrickses for Vons to use as an advertisement (kidding) and then packed up our bags and that was it!

Matt and I ended up catching the Rose & Sugar Bowls at ESPNZone in Downtown Disney to finish out the holiday and continue our Jan. 1 football watching tradition.
And for the record: Yes, I was still wearing the same shirt as the night before. No, we hadn't showered yet after spending the past 24 hours on the street. Yes, I am fully aware of how disgusting that is. And yes, I think everyone should have that same Rose Parade experience at least once in their lives.


  1. Those floats are BEAUTIFUL! What an amazing experience for the two of you. Can't wait to see what you will come up with next =)

  2. The only thing I can think of is the fact that it was 17 below + wind chill here in PA yesterday.. and you are in the kissed place of the universe.. So lame:) beautiful pics though.

  3. Shay--I know, right? I was HOT in that sweater! On New Year's Day. It's sort of crazy :-) I definitely don't envy the 17-below weather, although for once in my life, I miss the snow!

  4. Wow! I seriously love that you guys had that experience. That is so cool!

  5. Totally worth sleeping on the street for. That was so amazing!


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