Friday, January 15, 2016

Rose Parade

December 30, 2015 - January 1, 2016

My family and grandparents traveled to Los Angeles, California for a multi-day trip over the year end holidays to celebrate my grandparents' 50th anniversary. The main reason for this trip was to see the Rose Parade, a 127 year American tradition that celebrates bringing in the new year with flowers and music, an event my nana has always wanted to see in person.

Two days before the parade we went to the Fiesta Parade Floats' warehouse to see the construction of several of the floats in their final decoration phase. The warehouse was buzzing with volunteers racing around answering questions from the press and finishing electrical wiring tests. The firetruck (pictured above) was in the process of being covered in cranberries, glued on one at a time, by a few of the scores of volunteers. The parade rules state that all the floats must be covered in natural materials, and in addition to flowers we saw a diverse range being used, including items like coffee and shredded coconut.

On the day of the parade, we set our alarms for 4:30a and took a breakfast-to-go on the 5:15a bus to Pasadena, located about 18 miles from where we were staying. We weaved our way through deadlock traffic and made our way to our - amazing - seats. We sat in crowded high rise temporary bleachers near the NBC and local news press boxes and were able to see all the bands and entertainment perform their selected pieces. The early morning air was chilly - even by my non-Californian standards - so I was grateful for the shared heat of the many people around me.

Although I am not a huge parade fan, I enjoyed watching this one. As it's such a high profile parade, the floats are exceptionally well made, and some were made and brought from countries like Armenia, India, and Taiwan, all of which featured cultural elements in their performances. My favourite float was the Disney created piece, which to celebrate Disneyland's 60th anniversary, was a three part float with Elsa's and Sleeping Beauty's castles and a Star Wars themed area with a Millennium Falcon replica.

Numerous celebrities were featured on the floats, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Paula Abdul, and Ty Pennington. Immediately after the parade a Bernie rally composed of hundreds of people ran through the streets, brandishing signs and yelling "Feel the Bern!" at the crowd. The tale end of the parade was overshadowed by a team of skywriters composing anti-Trump messages,  to the amusement of the crowd.

Even though the Rose Parade has never been at the top of my list of things to see, I am happy to have gotten the opportunity to see it when I did, and to see a little bit of southern California while I was there.

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