It is almost impossible to live in Southern California for any length of time and not feel a wee bit braggy about the annual Rose Parade. Doesn't matter if you've never been in the royal court, or stepped onto a float, or sat in the grandstands, or even have caught more than a snippet or two on television. The Rose Parade just is, and it is regal and gorgeous and traditional and festive, and that puts locals -- both Pasadena and Pasadena adjacent -- in a cheery (and yes, slightly proud) frame of mind come New Year's Day.
Our pride and braggy-ness just continues to grow, too. Actress and "Dancing with the Stars" sensation Cloris Leachman is the Grand Marshal this year (we're sure she will be a most exuberant participant; it really is all about the excited waving, the smiling, the connecting with the crowds). The royal court will also be doing plenty of smiling and waving, and the floats? They astound us year in, year out, with their technology and cleverness and girth (and also because every bit of surface has to be covered with some sort of natural substance, so think grasses, seeds and such).
Way back when, the floats were exceedingly humble and the afternoon activities included homespun tug-of-war competitions; now, the Tournament of Roses people report, a million people actually go to the parade, while another 39 million Americans tune in for the parade (which is broadcast on nine different stations, all listed on the web site).
Isn't that so like the undauntable, can-do California spirit -- starting small and then making it very, very big?
Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade
Thursday, January 1, 8AM
Corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards (see site for full route), Pasadena
626-795-4171 (Sharp Seating)