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Laurie Niles

Happy New Year from Pasadena!

January 2, 2010 at 5:47 AM

I hope we humans never decide that events like Pasadena's annual Rose Parade are too old-fashioned for our cyber-dominated, flat-screened world. Because to have all those real, live people parade past me today, with live horses, and live-flower floats and bands making music in real sure made the world seem round and real again. Imagine, right before my eyes, just feet away from me, so many crazy things happened today!

I live in Pasadena, and every year I get to see the parade, not on television, but with my own eyeballs. Since you all couldn't be there, I took pictures, and so did Robert. Robert had a nifty press seat at the front of the route, I had fun seats with friends, at the very end of the five-and-a- half-mile route. (The rest of Robert's pictures are here, on his ThemeParkInsider blog. His pictures are comprehensive, while you'll find mine to be...quirky?) Here goes! Robert took this picture: The City of Los Angeles's float, which, happily, made the arts their theme this year. If you squint a bit, you can tell that they tried to make Disney Hall in the middle, with the Hollywood Bowl on the left --both venues for symphony orchestras, among other acts.

Yes, below you see a violin and bass, playing in a parade! There were a few more young string players, as well. I was so happy to see these kids, part of Susan Pascale's South Pasadena Strings. The group also performed in a Christmas Eve program at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, here's a nice video feature on that concert, and on the group.

It takes the parade nearly two hours to reach us, at the end of the line. During that time, people throw footballs in the street, visit with friends, eat donuts, honk horns, blow bubbles, make noise with party snaps and of course, spray silly string all over each other. My daughter, Natalie, models the silly string look:

Finally, FINALLY, the parade arrives. All the floats must be decorated with organic material: flowers, plants, fruit, nuts...This isn't some recent "green" thing; it's always been this way. Check out how realistic this plane looks, "taking off" into the sky:

Though television puts emphasis on the floats, I'm impressed by the people who walk past me, wearing their visually stunning costumes:

Often, people are performing tricks, like the man spinning a lasso around his horse, people on stilts, or these women, standing on their horses. When you see how high they are standing and what a wobbly ride it is to stand straight up, it seems a lot more tricky up close than it looks at a distance!

And for something mundane, but highly amusing: when a parade has horses, the horses inevitably make...messes. One of our friends was actually in charge of recruiting a crew of scooper-uppers, and there was a crew following every act with horses. (We cheered them heartily!)

Here is the Taiwan float: this guy looks like he's on a mission. Check out the beautiful sky, too.

These are all children on roller skates!

This was one of the best parts of the parade, the Ohio State School for the Blind's band, which marched the very long parade route with the help of guides. They were still playing after five miles, when many other bands were too tired and were only drumming. (One band that was too tired to play actually sang!)


And now, some of that live music; this video shot by Robert at the beginning of the parade: Ohio State's marching band:

University of Oregon's marching band:

From Anne Horvath
Posted on January 2, 2010 at 2:37 PM

That looks like a lot of fun.  And goodness, your daughter looks just like you! 


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 2, 2010 at 5:25 PM

Thank you, Laurie.  Ah, to be in sunny California!  Here it's sunny but cold, with gusts of wind that come through the window onto me as I type.

Your choice of photos is not "quirky," as you said.  They have personality.  It's hard for me to grasp a parade, an EVENT, on such a big scale.  You have a beautiful daughter.  I will watch your pictures and listen to the audio many times.  They should keep me warm and cheery.

Thanks again and happy new year..

Posted on January 2, 2010 at 8:49 PM

flowers & sunshine...thanks for rubbing it in :)

From Philanthi Koslowski
Posted on January 3, 2010 at 6:20 PM


As my mom was a florist, I have watched this parade every year since I was a kid--It was a fun tradition at our house! One day, I hope to be able to watch in person. Of course, since Pasadena looks so beautiful and has such great weather, I may never return since I HATE the cold.

I too was tickled pink when I saw the budding violinist and other young musicians. What a great memory for them to cherish. 

What a great family day!

Happy New Year!!


From Kim Vawter
Posted on January 5, 2010 at 4:10 AM

 Thank you. I enjoyed your pictures. It is fun to see the parade through the eyes of someone who actually got to be there in person.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on January 5, 2010 at 6:20 PM

 Aww, what fun. Thanks for posting thoughts and pics, Laurie. Gives us that "almost live to us" glimpse. : )

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