If you've ever been involved in a parade, you know that there is the organization side of things and the appearing-in-the-parade side. Most marches follow those two lines, with a major exception, which just happens to be a parade that's a major exception in almost every memorable way.
We speak of the Rose Parade, our 126-year-old bud-bedecked New Year's Day spectacle. The annual Pasadena roll has plenty of interesting quirks, like never happening on a Sunday, but one of its best-known features is that interesting volunteering opportunities are pretty plentiful.
For sure, many people pitch in to decorate the massive floats with petal after petal come the final days of December, but there are also the volunteers appearing along the route, helping out, answering questions, escorting those guests, and fulfilling a hundred other important roles.
They're the Tournament of Roses White Suiters. Few events can claim that their volunteer brigade is as iconic as the event itself, but the Rose Parade's white-suited team is as recognizable as the giant rose on the side of the Norton Simon Museum.
Ever wanted to join the White Suiter brigade, which typically numbers in the high hundreds come parade time? There's a Prospective Member Reception at the Tournament House in Pasadena on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
But becoming a fabled White Suiter just isn't about being available to volunteer on New Year's Day: You'll "be assigned to one of 31 committees, with responsibilities ranging from selecting parade participants to directing visitors on New Year's Day, to serving food to band members at the end of the parade route."
The committees fill up the rosy gamut, from Equestrian to Formation Area to Heritage to Queen and Court. So, nope, it isn't all about looking stylish in your fedora come Jan. 1 (though certainly that is part of the mystique of the White Suiter).
Want to know more about the long-running tradition, a decades-old staple for the Rose Parade, and how committees, volunteering, and New Year's Day works for Tournament volunteers? As with so many things to do with the enormous undertaking, everything starts nearly a year in advance. Be at the Tournament House on Jan. 28, and check out your White Suiter to-knows here.