With New Year’s Day coming up fast and America’s New Year Celebration being very different in 2021, I thought I would post some of the plans the Tournament of Roses has been working on in 2020. It has been a difficult year for float builders, both commercial and self-built, without the usual hubbub and excitement in the float barns. Also without the usual income that keeps the companies and organizations going.
The good news is that the Tournament has found ways to connect with the community during COVID-19, which I posted on the Facebook page All Things Rose Parade. It will present a two-hour show that promises to be entertaining and evocative of the whole Tournament of Roses experience and will benefit Feeding America.
The show airs on January 1, 2021 at 8 a.m. PST. Check your local listings; I plan to watch it on KTLA5 Los Angeles. In addition, there are a couple dozen different previews posted on the KTLA site.
As for the 2021 Rose Parade, the event has simply been postponed to 2022. The leadership will be the same, keeping Dr. Robert B. Miller as TOR president and the theme “Dream. Believe. Achieve.” No word on the Grand Marshal as yet!
From the time I started writing online with Examiner.com up to the final article I posted my own website, The Rose Examiner, I have appreciated all my readers and always tried to serve them with the stories I wrote. My goal in continuing to write about the Tournament of Roses after Examiner.com closed down was to inform and entertain those who have an interest in America’s New Year Celebration.
Over the past year or two, I came to realize that it is time for me to set aside this wonderful part of my life and return to my first love, creative writing—essays, children’s stories, and short stories. That’s where I excel, where the words seem to fly from my fingers to my keyboard to the virtual document on my screen. I can’t do both; there just isn’t time.
This decision was confirmed in the joy I experienced with a recent writing assignment for a group I’m in. It was based on a picture from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, a picture book by Chris Van Allsburg. The book is ostensibly a collection of unrelated pencil sketches by a man named Harris Burdick, and without text, the reader is tasked with being storyteller as well. In this instance, I wrote about birds soaring out of the wallpaper in “The Third-Floor Bedroom.” It was a delightful fantasy, if I do say so myself.
While it’s time for me to move on from posting on The Rose Examiner, I will continue to keep up with my Facebook followers on All Things Rose Parade, at least for a while. I truly hope you enjoyed reading my articles and paging through my photos, and that the information was useful. I enjoyed meeting all the wonderful people, in person and online, that I would not have come to know without this work.
Be happy, stay healthy, and remember that life is beautiful, even if the bed of roses has a few thorns.
At the Self-Built potluck last spring, Kim Bossley of Burbank Tournament of Roses Association handed me a packet of black-and-white photos of some of the entries in the 52nd Tournament of Roses Parade in 1941. They were taken by Gregory V. Watson and discovered by his great-niece, Catherine Mead. I am honored that they were shared with me, and I have posted them in the album below.
The theme that year was “America in Flowers.” The proliferation of flowers is noticeable on the floats, with proportionately fewer dry materials. J.W. McCall Jr. was president and E.O. Nay, the 23rd mayor of Pasadena, was Grand Marshal. There’s a golf course named after him in the Rose Bowl area.
Sally Stanton (Rubsamen) was the Rose Queen. She, along with Margaret Huntley Main, founded the Rose Queen Club to support the women who have held that honor. She was also present at the ribbon cutting for the Arroyo Seco Parkway, one of the first freeways in the country.
The photos are taken in front of a bank building that has changed hands several times. (It was Lloyd’s of London when I first moved to the area in 1978 and is now Bank of the West.) To the left in some of the photos is a huge radio tower on the roof of the old Pasadena Star-News building.
Enjoy a bit of history! And please add yours in the comments. You have to sign in, only because it helps to avoid spam.
The biggest celebrities of them all: the 2020 Tournament of Roses Royal Court. L-R, Rose Queen Camille Kennedy, Rose Princesses Emilie Risha, Reese Rosental Saporito, Mia Thorsen, Michael Wilkins, Rukan Saif, Cole Fox.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
At the Tournament of Roses Parade, the real celebrities are the gorgeous floral creations that float along the parade route on New Year’s Day. The 131st Rose Parade, held on Jan. 1, 2020, was no exception. But that doesn’t mean there are no human celebrities! Riding along Colorado Blvd. in flower-bedecked antique vehicles is a tradition for the people that the current president chooses to represent the theme she has chosen, this year, Pres. Laura Farber chose “The Power of Hope.”
You can read more about them by exploring the 2020 Tournament of Roses page on this website. You can see them, nestled in the seats of beautiful vehicles and waving to the crowds, in the gallery below. Information about the cars is in the captions.
Barnstormer and daredevil C.P. Rodgers piloted the first plane to fly over the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 1912. The plane in the photo is not his usual aircraft, the Wright Model EX Vin Fiz, but a spare Model B.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Quick question: When did the flyovers of the Rose Parade begin? If you said in 1997 at the 108th Tournament of Roses Parade, with the B-2 Spirit “stealth bomber” in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the US Air Force, you would be…wrong!
The first flyover was 85 years earlier, in 1912 at the 23rd Rose Parade. Broadcaster and barnstormer C.P. Rodgers, after a historic cross-country flight from the Atlantic to the Pacific, flew over the parade in his plane Vin Fiz, a Wright Model EX. He dropped flowers along the entire route; some say they were rose petals; others say it was 10,000 carnations.
Born Calbraith Perry Rodgers, the aviator had undertaken the transcontinental flight to garner a $50,000 prize offered by William Randolph Hearst, but he missed the deadline by 19 days. On April 3, his plane was hit by birds during an exhibition over Long Beach, Calif. and he died in the crash at age 33. This was the first recorded instance of a fatality resulting from a bird strike.
Such an impromptu flight would not be allowed today, of course, what with security and other aircraft taking up airspace over the route.
Nonetheless, he is remembered for his daring flights, his huge personality, and for being the first aviator to fly over the Rose Parade. He was so popular with parade-goers that they gave him the title of King of the Rose Parade, the first in a short line of three. There was no Rose Queen that year, so folks created their own royalty.
Parade-goers still enjoy looking up to see the B-2 and other Air Force wonders fly overhead, as well as the Goodyear blimp and the occasional small planes dragging banners or puffing out ads. Here are some examples.
B-2 Spirit at the 2020 Rose Parade
It’s a marvel of engineering, the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber. The shape makes it difficult for radar detection, but most impressive to parade-goers—besides the sheer beauty of this war machine—is that it can’t be heard until it is almost overhead. It has a wingspan of 172 feet and weighs 160,000 pounds, but for its massive size, it is frighteningly quiet. For the first time in Rose Parade history, the crew of two pilots included a woman: Lt. Col. Nicola “Rogue” Polidor with Major Justin “Rocky” Spencer
Goodyear blimp videos the 2020 Rose Parade
To residents of the Pasadena area, the Goodyear blimp is a frequent sight when games are held in the Rose Bowl Stadium. On New Year’s Day, it does double duty in taking overhead video the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game. A ride in the blimp is one of the exciting events that the Tournament of Roses Royal Court gets to do.
Annual visitors—the parrots of Pasadena
People local to Pasadena love to come to the Rose Parade, but they aren’t the only ones who enjoy the festivities. Every year, the flocks that make their homes in or near Pasadena make an early morning trek to circle the over the grandstands. This photo is from 2018.
The 2018 flyover added two F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters in a tribute to organ donation. The F-35 to the left of the bomber represented giving life (organ donors) and to the right, receiving life (organ recipients). Organ donor USAF Maj. Benjamin “Chex” Meier piloted the plane on the left before he lost his life; it was flown by a close friend for the Rose Parade.
And yet another feathered flyover
What appears to be a hawk flies below the Air Force formation. After all, the airspace is free to birds!
“Stories Change Our World” sponsored by The UPS Store won Sweepstakes in the 131st Rose Parade with its display of golden lion tamarin monkeys.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
“The Power of Hope,” theme of the 131st Tournament of Roses, inspired floats with different stories to tell, but all with optimism and aspiration. From the humor of dodo birds flying a zeppelin to men and women in a cargo ship crossing the ocean in 1620 seeking freedom, the floats were a panoply of artistry, imagination, beauty, and hope.
Below are three photo galleries with images of the award winners in four categories: Sweepstakes, Entertainment Value, Float Design, Floral Design. There are six self-built winners and floats from professional builders AES, Fiesta Parade Floats, and Phoenix Decorating Company. The captions name the award and give a little information about each entry.
For The Rose Examiner, the week between Boxing Day and the Showcase of Floats is packed with preparations for the Tournament of Roses Parade and visits to the barns to see the floats in the final stages. We especially like being able to talk to some of the people who are working on the floats.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a couple weeks since we spoke with folks during Deco Week. We had conversations with Linda Cozakos and Erik C. Andersen at Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, and Harry Gill and Maninder Minu Singh, creative director of the Sikh American Float Foundation, in the Phoenix Decorating Company barn.
Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery below for the two floats in progress
Burbank “Rise Up”
Burbank’s 88th Rose Parade entry won the Leishman Public Spirit Award for most outstanding floral design and display from a non-commercial participant. In keeping with the parade theme “The Power of Hope,” the float depicted a giant phoenix being reborn from the ashes of the 8,527 wildfires that destroyed 1,893,913 acres of homes, businesses, farmland, and wildland in California 2018. A waterfall in front, surrounded by lush vegetation, offered hope that the land will be renewed.
Named “Paradise” in honor of the town that was nearly wiped out in the Camp Fire—two of designer Lisa Long’s nephews battled the fire there—the bird’s body rose and fell and head turned side to side. In a first for Burbank, three fireballs shot out of the tail feathers.
We talked to Cozakos and Andersen about the florals used for the colors and textures on the phoenix. Floral decorators always keep an eye out for new materials or ways to use old ones, and the beak of the bird had a rather unusual choice.
Cozakos said the frilly acorn caps lining the top of the beak can only be found in Griffith Park on one particular tree. One of the members of BTORA discovered them and has returned to collect them as needed. Mustard seed, fava beans, dried mango, and two purple potatoes for nostrils completed the beak, with vermilion Chinese lanterns around the eyes.
The feathers on the face and body were whole magnolia leaves and palm leaves that had been torn into thin strips. The leaves were covered with ground yellow and orange marigolds, sumac, and paprika to simulate the fiery colors of the phoenix.
Remembering a different kind of tragedy, roses with the names of the Saugus High School shooting victims attached were on the float, as well as dried agapanthus from the school. The roses will be returned to the parents after the parade.
Sikh American “Planting Seeds of Hope”
The theme of the Sikh American float was realized with a fanciful garden and rotating carousel filled with children of various ethnicities. Through selfless service to humanity with love, respect, compassion, and humility, Sikhs hope to nurture an environment in which children can grow and thrive.
A sculpture of Bhai Ghaneya Singh sat at the front, pouring water out of a leather bag. Bhai Ghaneya was a compassionate man who carried water to the troops in the 1704 war of Anandpur Sahib. Harry Gill told us the story behind the image.
Bhai Ghaneya gave water to both the Sikhs and their Mughal enemies, thus planting seeds of love. For this, he was brought before Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Ghaneya’s defense was “I see God in every one of them.” The Guru replied, “Give everyone water and also apply medicine on their wounds,” Gill said. “He’s the forerunner of the Red Cross, more than 300 years ago.”
Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, said “there is only one God of the whole world; the same light shines in every person,” Gill said, regardless of color, creed, or gender. “Even emperors are born of women.”
For the second consecutive year, The UPS Store won the Sweepstakes trophy. “Stories Change Our World” was designed by Charles Meier and built by Fiesta Parade Floats.
Here’s the breakdown on the 131st Tournament of Roses Parade award-winning floats builders: AES, 2; Fiesta Parade Floats, 10; Phoenix Decorating Company, 6; self-builts, 6. The last time all six self-built floats won awards was 2016. The associations did a great job with animation, float design, and floral presentation this year.
Here are the winning designers: Michelle Lofthouse, 5 (Phoenix); Mike Abboud, 4 (Fiesta); Art Aguirre, 2 (Fiesta); Charles Meier, 2 (Fiesta); Stanley Meyer, 2 (Fiesta); John Ramirez, 2 (AES); Rachel Lofthouse, 1 (Phoenix)
Your Rose Examiner spent three consecutive days walking the float barns, and came back with tons of photos. For these galleries, I’ve chosen one of each float, shots I particularly like, just to give a flavor of the process and introduce readers to the floats that will glide along the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2020.
The barns and decorating sites were pretty packed and the decorators were working furiously to get the dry dec on. I managed to fit in two conversations, one with Erik C. Andersen and Linda Cozakos at Burbank Tournament of Roses Association., and one with Harry Gill and Minu Singh at the Sikh American float in the Phoenix Decorating Company barn, which can be read here.
Photos in Gallery A were taken on Dec. 28 and 29, and include AES and five self-built floats (we didn’t go down to the Downey float barn). Gallery B was taken on Dec. 30 at Phoenix Decorating Company. Gallery C was also taken on Dec. 30, at Fiesta Parade Floats.
Deco Week Gallery A
Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn., La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., AES, Cal Poly Universities, South Pasadena Rose Float Assn., Burbank Rose Float Assn.
The 131st Tournament of Roses is packed with 90 entries, including bands, equestrians, opening and closing shows, a special mid-point Frozen extravaganza, and of course, flower-covered floats. The parade starts at 8 a.m. sharp on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. The order is subject to changes, but for now, this is what it is.
For those wondering about the floats that missed the cameras in the 2019 Rose Parade due to being behind the rather spectacular breakdown of the Chinese American Heritage Foundation float, they are back, and closer to the front in the 2020 parade. Underground Service Alert (DigAlert) has moved from 87 to 16 and South Pasadena Tournament of Roses is at 42, up from 85. It is hoped that being at that fortuitous number will ensure smooth sailing, even though the float is still behind CAHF, which is number 20.
For more about the Rose Parade and information about all the events between now and Jan. 3, check out these links:
1. Rose Parade Opening Spectacular: Ally Brooke, Emilio Estefan, Farruko and the Chino Hills High School Drumline
2. U.S. Air Force B-2 Spirit flyover
3. Honda float, Our Hope for the Future
4. United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard
5. United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band
6. Cal Poly Universities float, Aquatic Aspirations
7. Arabian Horse Association
8. General Society of Mayflower Descendants float, The Voyage of Hope – 1620
9. Rancho Verde Crimson Regiment
10. Burbank Tournament of Roses Association float, Rise Up
11. Grand Marshals Laurie Hernandez, Rita Moreno and Gina Torres
12. Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee float, Hope Connects the World
13. Japan Honor Green Band
14. Downey Rose Float Association float, On the Wings of Hope
15. Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team
16. Underground Service Alert of Southern California float, The Power of Safety FIRST
17. The PRIDE of Owasso Marching Band
18. Chipotle Mexican Grill float, Cultivating the Future of Farming
19. 1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment
20. Chinese American Heritage Foundation float, American Heroes
21. Helsingør Pigegarde (Elsinore Girls Marching Band)
22. Lutheran Laymen’s League float, Anchored in Jesus
23. Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Herald Trumpets
24. Royal Court
25. Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band
26. Pasadena Celebrates 2020 float, Years of Hope. Years of Courage.
27. Mayor of Pasadena Terry Tornek and the Express Clydesdales
28. Rose Bowl Game, University Float A
29. Rose Bowl Game: University Band A
30. AIDS Healthcare Foundation float, Hope for the Homeless
31. Aguiluchos Marching Band
32. Westcom Credit Union, Better Together float: Hope Creates Community
33. Horsewomen of Temecula Wine Country
34. Trader Joe’s float, It Takes a Flight of Fancy
35. Baldwinsville Marching Bees
36. Northwestern Mutual float, Spend Your Life Living
37. Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2019: Eddie Casey, Cornelius Greene, Matt Leinart and Jacque Robinson
38. Rose Bowl Game, University Float B
39. Rose Bowl Game, University Band B
40. Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens float, Cultivating Curiosity
41. Banda Municipal de Zarcero
42. South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, Victory at Last
43. 2020 Tournament of Roses President Laura Farber
44. Alhambra Unified School District Marching Band
45. City of Alhambra float, Hope Keeps Us Going
46. Los Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team
47. La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association float, Dodo Bird Flight School
48. Mid-parade Performance: Disney’s “Frozen” Broadway musical
49. The Valley Hunt Club
50. The UPS Store float, Stories Change Our World
51. 2020 Tournament of Roses Honored Guests: Jaime Jarrín, Sonia Manzano and Ellen Ochoa
52. Sikh American Float Foundation float, Planting Seeds of Hope
53. Greendale High School Marching Band
54. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day float, Plant a Garden … Believe in Tomorrow
55. Mid America Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team
56. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float, First Responders Bring Hope
57. Pearland High School Marching Band
58. The SCAN Foundation float, Hope’s Heroes: Honoring Caregivers of All Generations
59. Mini Therapy Horses
60. Shriners Hospitals for Children float, Hope Knows No Limits
61. Centenaria Banda Colegial
62. Sierra Madre Rose Float Association, Ka lā hiki ola (The Dawning of a New Day)
63. Budweiser Clydesdales
64. Dole Packaged Foods float, Sunshine for All
65. Kamehameha Warrior Marching Band and Color Guard
66. City of Torrance / Torrance Rose Float Association float, Our Garden of Hope and Dreams
67. Scripps Miramar Ranch (equestrian unit)
68. Western Asset Management float, Growing a Better Tomorrow
69. Southern University “Human Jukebox” Marching Band
70. Kaiser Permanente float, Courage to Reimagine
71. Knott’s Berry Farm (equestrian unit)
72. Kiwanis International float, Soaring with Hope
73. The Cowboy Channel’s Rodeo New York Gold Buckle Brigade
74. The Cowboy Channel float, Walk. Ride. Rodeo.
75. Dobyns-Bennett High School Marching Band
76. Amazon Studios float, Troop Zero
77. Banda El Salvador: Grando Como Su Gente
78. Lions Clubs International float, Hope for 2020
79. Buffalo Soldier Mounted Cavalry Unit
80. Blue Diamond Growers float, Almond Breeze, The Best Almonds Make the Best Almond Milk
81. West Harrison Hurricane Band
82. City of Hope float, City of Hope
83. The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band
84. Donate Life float, Light in the Darkness
85. Spirit of the West Riders
86. Farmers Insurance float, Conveyor of Hope
87. Los Angeles Unified School District, All District High School Honor Band
88. China Airlines float, Dreams of Flying, Wings of Hope
89. Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers
90. Closing Show: “Where Flowers and Football Meet!” featuring Los Lobos and Alejandro Aranda