I've always loved New Year's Eve. Actually, any occasion to celebrate is alright by me. But as my friends and I have become parents over the past few years our New Year's plans have dwindled. It's a hard time of year, weather wise, health wise and stamina wise. The months of November/December are the busiest times for me work wise and it's a constant tug at my heart choosing between my work schedule and holiday activities with our young son. My husband is Belgian so we celebrate Saint Nicholas, which is primarily for children on December 6, then we have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and then our son's birthday a few days later. By the time NYE rolls around, I'm pretty beat.
I've lived in South Pasadena a mile from the Rose Parade route and yet I had never been to the parade while being a resident. I've been to the Rose Parade itself, many times with my family growing up, waking up early and sitting in the stands and going to the Rose Bowl. I always enjoyed it but didn't quite see what all the fanfare was about. Neighbors who had kids before us would always go and walk and see the parade setup at the crack of dawn and I always thought...why? wouldn't you rather sleep?! Until last year when I finally decided to do it, and I'm so glad I did.
Instead of staying up way too late and waking up sleep deprived and/or hungover, we now celebrate on New York time and that means that my son can see it and be in bed by 9:30 a win-win. By not going nuts on NYE, means we wake up fresh and excited and our first day of the new year is filled with activity and intention rather than sluggishness and indigestion.
California Grown! That's right! Everything on the floats are plant based, either seeds or flowers or plants and all applied by hand.
If you're a LA resident, you'll recognize the Forum. The Lakers used to play there before the Staples center. I saw Prince there and most recently, Arcade Fire. It's located in Inglewood, nearby to LAX so while you're standing in the courtyard, you can see planes fly directly overhead on their way into land.
Since the roads are closed off, you can walk directly up to the floats. Everyone is milling around, with time to kill before the parade starts. We talked to one of the drivers of the floats. They sit in the bottom, with almost no view and get directions walkie talkied back to them!
Security! Everyone wears these white suits and drives around on scooters. One of the floats broke down right in front of us and within minutes, they had a tow truck there ready to pull it down the route, until they fixed it.
Being in the parade isn't just all smiles and waves. This family from the Sikh float got up at 4:30 am to be ready for the parade.
We had walked most of the route and decided to stop on the corner of Del Mar and Orange Grove where all the bands lined up waiting to walk down the route. They were incredible! Some came from as far away as Australia and Japan. Pictured is the Georgia marching band, who not only had to get up early to walk and play the whole route but then go to the Rose Bowl and perform during the football game! I'm tired just thinking about it.
These musicians were from Canada, a teen band that ranged in age from 13-20. Love the kilts!
Every year a B-2 Stealth Bomber flies over the parade route. This year they flew out from Missouri, on a 13 hour training mission passing over the Rose Parade and then 5 or so hours later over the Rose Bowl during the national anthem. To see these fly over is a truly awesome sight. To see video check out my Instagram stories @jannaconner
My favorite float and incidentally the winner of the Sweepstakes prize.
Some of the earlyrisers, even @jrtheseniorwiener made it out to the parade!
South Pasadena, represent! The weather was so warm in the days preceding the parade that they had to wait until only 2 days before to start applying the flowers for fear that they would wilt before the final judging. They were calling for volunteers to work night shifts, late through Saturday night. Looks like they finished on time!
photo by @seeninsouthpas
Wanna know what happens to floats after the parade? They leave them on display, and you can view them for a fee for a few days and then they begin to disassemble them and recycle the pieces. Spotted, some of the parts on a neighbor's lawn as lawn ornament.