We started this year out (literally) at the Rose Parade on January 1, bright and early. And when I say “bright and early”, we had to be in Pasadena (20 minutes away) by 6:45 am to secure parking and seating, since THIS parade is a kind of a big deal.
The Rose Parade boasts 700,000 attendees with over 70 million watching on television in more than 100 countries. It is 5.5 miles long and takes 2 hours to view the entire parade. This year was the 130th annual parade and “More than 80,000 hours of combined manpower is supplied by 935 volunteer members of the Tournament of Roses Association.” There’s a countdown on the site already and tickets go on sale on February 1 the year before. A big deal.
I share all this to point out just how much we take for granted that we live in this great city of Los Angeles, surrounded by lots of fun opportunities. Oh, and that I’ve lived here for over 20 years (Bart even longer), and neither of us have ever been to the Rose Parade. Until now!
This year our friends Dan and Leslie invited us to go with their family – a real treat because Leslie works at the Norton Simon Museum, which happens to be located at the very beginning of the parade route! They also offer limited seating and parking for their employees, so we had incredible road-side seats and access to close parking!
We arrived on time after dressing and slipping two sleeping children into a minivan, all bundled up (it actually gets cold in the mornings and evenings out here in Sunny LA), with blankets and cushions all ready to go. The girls (who really had no idea what they were about to experience) were GIDDY.
Those smiles may also have been fueled by hot chocolate and a doughnut provided by the Norton Simon, but who’s judging? I’ll say it was a REALLY COOL experience to feel the energy of all those folks in one place anticipating such a huge production and choosing to start off the New Year together. Fortunately, our New Year’s Eve celebration (topic for another post), though late, does end around 10 pm PT, but I can imagine some folks move faster than others on New Year’s Day.
On the slightly less cool side, it was quite cold to start the day but when the sun came out strong around 8:30, we were sweating in our bundles. Also, I never thought about the fact that watching a parade means looking in one direction for 2 hours. Half my face felt sun-seared, and my neck and shoulder seized up. Now we know? Not to mention I had a cute, cuddly, heat-producing appendage for a large portion of the show:
Back to the bright side (yes, cuddly kids are also a bright side, but you know what I mean), we were across the street from where the television crews and announcers were seated, so likely we got our 15 minutes of fame and just don’t know it yet. To give a sense of size, this was a view of the street BEFORE the parade started:
To feel how close we were and what that sounded like, check out the Marine Corps band:
And if you’re wondering what the girls said was their FAVORITE part of the Rose Parade, check out these tiny ponies (and yes, they want one):
In case you watched the parade this year and are curious, you’ll already know that there was a big snafu at the end when one of the floats caught on fire and had trouble making the turn. Because of the confusion, TV broadcasts stopped and parade watchers like us actually flooded the streets and left. Two floats and a marching band had to wait until things died down, and here’s footage of what we (and millions of others) missed.
Before we left, here’s what we COULD see:
Which sure made it seem like it was time to go unless we wanted to sit in traffic for quite a while with our 700,000 new best friends.
And so, WE LOVE A PARADE! What a great way to start of 2019, with friends, celebrating life and a lot of hard work with beauty and music. To follow that up, we just attended the Golden Dragon Parade yesterday in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year. But that’s a blog for another day. Stay tuned, Mom :)