Opening: Free Tournament House Tours

Peek inside the Pasadena HQ for the Tournament of Roses.

If you've ever hosted a few guests at your place during a special celebration, you know it can be at least a couple of days, but, more than likely, a couple of weeks, before you're ready to welcome people again. There are the cushions to straighten, the fridge to re-fill, and so on.

It's not too different with the Tournament of Roses, but, of course, the history-amazing New Year's Day event hosts hundreds of thousands of guests, over several days, across the city of Pasadena. And the cushions to straighten? Well, that's not an issue for the Tournament, though overseeing a fleet of floats and thousands of dedicated volunteers is definitely on its docket.

Call staging the annual parade and game an undertaking as large and as complex as a beautifully engineered, flower-covered vehicle. 

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But the tourney, which has its rosy roots in the 19th century, is once again welcoming those who'd love to bask in its stately story via a tour of the Tournament House. Guided walk-arounds officially open for 2017 on Thursday, Feb. 2, and will continue each Thursday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. (tours are free).

That's right, the Wrigley Mansion, the 1906 Italian Renaissance-inspired landmark, is the longtime headquarters for all things Rose Parade, so that's where you'll want to go. And, yes, William Wrigley, Jr., of the chewing gum, once called the spacious abode home.

And, right again, if you visit, you'll learn a good deal about the Rose Parade's history, and the Rose Bowl, and all of the people, traditions, royal courts, blossom-bedecked floats, white-suited volunteers, and storied sights that have made it one of the best-known events on the planet.

Capping it all off, in true Tournament of Roses fashion, is the fact that there are plenty of petals to admire on the grounds of the Tournament House.

After all, wouldn't you expect there to be some bud-beautiful action at the home that serves, in every way, as the year-round "garden" where the Rose Parade grows?

For more information, and to find a Thursday tour, drive your float to the HQ for the Orange Grove Boulevard bastion of all things roses.

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