Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

The Grand Marshal sees his chariot for the first time. L-R: Moira Harris, designer J. Keith White, Gary Sinise, Kathy Perini from the Tournament Entries Committee


by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Rose Examiner got a tip a couple days ago that 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Gary Sinise would be at Rosemont Pavilion on Dec. 31 to try out the fit of the 1919 Dodge Brothers car that will take him along the parade route on Jan. 1. We weren’t disappointed and neither was Sinise. He and his wife Moira Harris seemed very pleased with the gorgeous floral decoration by J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and the classic beauty of the 1919 Dodge Brothers car.

The vehicle was driven by Jimmy Stewart in the 1947 movie It’s a Wonderful Life as the George Bailey family car. This car has a special meaning for Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet, because his theme, “Making a Difference,” was chosen in part out of a family tradition of watching the film every Christmas. It is now owned by Keith and Marilyn Smith of Johnstown, Colo. It’s fitting that it will carry Sinise, a Continue reading “Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride”

Conversations in the Rose Parade float barns

by Laura Berthold Monteros

We dropped into a couple float barns this week to get a look at the floats in their final stages. First was the new spacious and bright headquarters of Phoenix Decorating Company in Irwindale. Man-of-many-hats Chuck Hayes introduced us to assistant volunteer coordinator Jay DeCastro, who has worked for float companies since 1986, and Maryann Griffin who told us she “absolutely loves” being around people and ensuring they are welcome.

The next day, we went to Rosemont Pavilion in Pasadena, which has been used by many float builders over the years. This year, Paradiso Parade Floats and Cal Poly Universities drove their entries from the far east San Gabriel Valley to finish up the floral on their floats. The cars that will carry the dignitaries are being decorated there, too; more on that to come.

In the Phoenix Decorating Company barn

Laura Farber

Laura Farber, who will have her turn as president of the Tournament of Roses in 2020 greeted us by the Theme Banner float. Asked if she was preparing for the 131st Rose Parade, she said, “Yeah. That’s what we do!” She has her theme (big secret) and has a list of potential Grand Marshals (bigger secret). “We have an eight-year build-up,” she said, referring to the Tournament’s executive committee ladder, from vice president to secretary, treasurer, executive vice president, and finally president.

“The last four years go by super quickly,” she said, adding that she’s getting ready early because she is an “excessive planner.” She said it will be fun to do the job from a different perspective as the third woman president and first Latina.

“We’re trying to expand outreach to the global community…. We’re talking to people Continue reading “Conversations in the Rose Parade float barns”

Royal Court opens Pasadena CVB Visitor Hotline

2018 Royal Court: Princesses Georgia Cervenka, Sydney  Pickering, Julianne Laurenstein. Queen Isabella Marez, Princesses Alexandra Artura, Savannah Bradley, Lauren Buehner.


by Laura Berthold Monteros

In the second of nine events scheduled for Dec. 29, the Tournament of Roses Royal Court opened the phones for the Visitor Hotline. Rose Queen Isabella Marie Marez, the 100th young woman to hold that title, cut the ribbon as the six Royal Princesses, Alexandra Marie Artura, Savannah Rose Bradley, Lauren Elizabeth Buehner, Georgia Jane Cervenka, Julianne Elise Laurenstein and Sydney Grace Pickering, looked on.

The Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau operates the service for the last few days of December every year. Information on all Tournament events is at the fingertips of the helpful volunteers. The hotline runs through Jan. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We asked Queen Isabella how callers reacted when she identified Continue reading “Royal Court opens Pasadena CVB Visitor Hotline”

2018 Royal Court graces PMH open house event: Photo gallery

2018 Rose Princesses Julianne Lauenstein, Lauren Buehner, Georgia Cervenka, Alexandra Artura, Sydney Pickering, and Savannah Bradley at the Pasadena Museum of History Royal Court exhibit.


by Laura Berthold Monteros

Cowboy hat worn by 2011 Rose Queen Drew Washington at Equestfest.

The Tournament of Roses Royal Court visited the Pasadena Museum of History last week to get a glimpse into what women on past Courts wore and collected during their reigns. The “town and gown” displays encompassed formal gowns and Mod hats, a cashmere sweater, sweatshirts, and houndstooth jacket, all manner of accessories, and photos, posters, and other memorabilia. It was a 100-year trip into the world of the women who served as ambassadors for Pasadena and the Tournament.

“The Royals of Pasadena” exhibit, which is open through Feb. 11, 2018, has a dozen display cases and scores of photos of past courts and events on the walls. The items were either donated to the museum or on loan from the Rose Queens and Princesses. Photos of all the gowns and wardrobes are in the gallery below. Be sure to check the 2018 Royal Court page for more articles, and “Crowning the Rose Parade Queens: Photo gallery” for the crowns worn by the Rose Queens.

After the Royal Court had toured the exhibit, we asked Continue reading “2018 Royal Court graces PMH open house event: Photo gallery”