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Robert Niles

Happy New Year 2011 from Pasadena!

January 1, 2011 at 8:47 PM

Cross-posted from

Happy New Year from Pasadena, where we kicked off 2011 with the 122nd annual Tournament of Roses parade!

The Food Network's Paula Deen led the Rose Parade as this year's Grand Marshal. 

Paula Deen at the Rose Parade

Perhaps some float designers love Disney theme parks? Castles were a recurring theme in this year's Rose Parade. Here, parade sponsor Honda makes a show for the TV cameras.

Honda's 2011 Rose Parade float

Look closely and you might see Honda's ASIMO robot, in flowers, peeking out from under one of those castle arches.

The Honda castle

Bayer Advanced also chose a fairy-tale castle theme.

Bayer Advanced's 2011 Rose Parade castle


Close-up of the castle

Dole won the Sweepstakes Trophy for Most Beautiful Entry.

Dole's 2011 Rose Parade float

The Trader Joe's float won the Animation Trophy:

The Three Little Pigs also appeared in this year's parade. (Courtesy a building supply company, of course.)

One little pig

Check out the detail in all the various organic material used to create this Native American on the RFD-TV float.

RFD-TV Rose float

Here's a final look at that Rose Bowl-in-flowers close-up, which I first showed you in our preview earlier this week:

The Rose Bowl in the Rose Parade

I found one more (very small) theme park reference in this year's parade. That's supposed to the Universal Studios arch, on the City of Los Angeles' float.

Hollywood, in flowers

Here's something I've been wanting for years in the Rose Parade: a video game-themed float. Okay, it's for the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, so it's not exactly cutting-edge. But it's a start.

Pac Man in the Rose Parade
Pac Man

Finally, here are your Rose Bowl team marching bands in action. First, from the University of Wisconsin:

And TCU:


From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 1, 2011 at 9:01 PM

 Robert is posting the gorgeous photos that he took right at the front of the parade, but the kids and I were stationed at the back, with a group of friends. So here are our observations from the back end...The City of Pasadena does a remarkable (miraculous) job of cleaning up the 5 1/2-mile route after the parade, but my daughter and I found the detritus and the out-of-the-ordinary people and items so interesting as we walked home (we live just a few blocks away) that we had to compile a list. Here's what the archaeologists would find if our society came to a sudden halt right after the Rose Parade:

silly string cans

empty coffee cups



half-burned wood

sparkly hats



tour bus

horse poop

flower petals


cigarette box

empty bottle of sparkling cider

plastic chair

bag of empty water bottles


foam cups and plates


silly string on bushes

crushed soda cans

shopping bags


tortillas (people camping on the parade route through marshmallows and tortillas at passing cars all night)

sheriff's car

tow truck


yellow caution tape

folding chairs

outdoor restaurant heaters

couch cushions


cigarette butts



seat pads

risers in parking lots

people on the roof

From Helen Harvey
Posted on January 2, 2011 at 12:09 AM

oh that brings back memories!  My grandfather rented out parking spaces in his backyard and from there we'd walk just a block to the parade.  My home town (South Pasadena) always built their own float. To bring this back to music, I played violin in a Los Posadas parade near the Pasadena courthouse one Christmas season, and of course, our San Gabriel Valley Jr. Symphony Orchestra (or was it the other - ?Pasadena youth orchestra ?) always got to play in the marathon music day that was broadcast on public TV and radio.  Ah, those were the days... of warmer weather than IA/MN!

thanks for the flower show!  i miss it!

From marjory lange
Posted on January 2, 2011 at 12:30 AM

 Curious how 'policemen' count as detritus...sleeping? dolls?

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 2, 2011 at 1:16 AM

 Marjory, you are right, policemen are not detritus and of course that's not what I meant. I'll change it a little.

From Ann Miller
Posted on January 4, 2011 at 4:35 PM


I used to live 1/2 block off of Colorado Blvd.  Your list sounds about right.  Our dog would pick up left behind "snacks" for weeks afterward.

Have a Happy New Year!


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