Monday, January 05, 2009

Floating in to See The Rose Parade's Aftermath

Above, one of my faves -- and definitely a crowd favorite -- the State of New Mexico's float, featuring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner on Route 66.

Every year the Tournament of Roses showcases its parade floats at the end of the parade route on Sierra Madre Blvd. Having watched a chunk of the parade with Evan this year, we decided to head over to Pasadena on Saturday (the last day of the showcase) to see the floats up close.

To avoid the traffic and parking woes, we took the Gold Line from South Pasadena to the end of the line, at Sierra Madre Villa station. MTA had shuttle buses waiting there to take transit riders to the float showcase site.

We knew the float viewing was popular, but not this popular. Not even the $7 fee per person prevented thousands from showing up to see the intricately-constructed floats. As you know, the parade requires that the floats be completely covered in flowers and other vegetation -- and you can't fully appreciate it until you see it in person. The Tournament's "White Suiters" were there to answer questions, and a documentary on the making of a float was shown at the Pasadena High School auditorium.

It's not something I think we'd do every year -- but since I don't think we'll ever be interested in spending the night on the street to see the actual parade, it's the closest we'll get to seeing the floats in person.

Some highlights:

Honda's famed Asimo robot

City Hall, via the City of Los Angeles float

Safari-themed float, by Rain Bird Corp.

City of Huntington Beach float

The Wizard of Oz, by Bayer

Oscar the Grouch, part of the float by NAMM (International Music Products Assoc.)

Part of the Trader Joe's float

After years of cheesy entries, Glendale finally got it right last year, with a float tribute to the old Grand Central airport. This year, Glendale stuck with the historic theme -- but with the Alex Theatre.

Most ill-timed float: "Celebrating the Dream of Home Ownership." Yeah, nothing like being reminded of our nation's housing woes during the parade!

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