At last Friday’s reception for “Royals of Pasadena” at Pasadena Museum of History, 20 former and three current Royal Court members gave the classic Rose Parade wave.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The invitation said “Royal attire encouraged.” The Rose Examiner did not have royal attire, but we were in the courtly spirit at the reception for members of the Rose Parade Royal Court, past and present, at Pasadena Museum of History’s exhibit “Royals of Pasadena” on Sept. 8. More than 20 Rose Queens and Princesses attended. Each one received a special tiara from Laura Verlaque, Director of Collections as she entered. We were able to talk with several of the Royals, as well as one of the curators of the exhibit.
Be sure to check out the photo gallery in this article, and the stories of the Rose Queen crowns in the article below.
Gowns and wardrobe items were solicited from members of Royal Courts across the decades. Verlaque said that originally, PMH was going to send letters to the entire list of prior Court members that the Tournament of Roses had provided. Then, right before the letters were to go out, she realized that was a tremendous number of women, so the requests were limited to those who still lived in California. Even with that, 75 gowns were offered.
Elissa De Angelo is one of a group of volunteers who preserve the textiles in the PMH collection, and prepare them for display. As the dresses came in, she altered the mannequins to fit the dresses. “Boobs, shoulder pads, clothes from each decade were worn differently,” she said. Some of the dresses had to be cleaned or steamed, with care to the kind of fabric. She said a hair dryer was used to blow the dust off silk garments, because silk could not be cleaned.
“The French Hand Laundry was very helpful with offering expertise,” De Angelo said. (The business, a Pasadena fixture, has operated since 1912.) For more about PMH textile exhibits, read “Fabulous Fashions” (pdf).
She called our attention to the most recent dress, a sapphire gown worn by 2017 Rose Princess Shannon Larsuel. Asked if any of the queens had worn their dresses in their weddings, she directed us to the 1949 white gown worn by Queen Virginia Bower. Both are pictured in the photo gallery.
Beverlie Anderson MacDuff was a Rose Princess in Queen Virginia’s court. “I had a wonderful time,” she said. “I’ve always been happy that I was a princess.” Born in Pasadena, Princess Beverlie said she went to the Rose Parade “a babe in arms.” She never missed a parade after that.
All photos copyright 2017 by Laura Berthold Monteros
Since the first Rose Queen graced the flower-bedecked float that carried her along the Rose Parade route on Jan. 2, 1905 (the first was a Sunday), there have been different crowns for different eras. Some of the early queens did not have crowns, and wore garlands or hats instead. The Pasadena Museum of History has several on display in its “Royals of Pasadena” exhibit, now through Feb. 11, 2018.
A special crown was created exclusively for the 50th Rose Queen, but the Tournament of Roses tells us that the 100th Rose Queen will continue to wear the Mikimoto pearl crown. A couple of Tournament members, one formerly the chair of the Queen & Court Committee, noted how heavy this crown is. “Did you see how Tori’s head went back?” one asked, recalling Queen Victoria’s coronation last fall. She had to stand very straight to keep it balanced.
Click through the photos for descriptions of each crown, including who wore it. Do you have a favorite? Use the comments to give your opinion. We would also love to hear from Rose Queens about the crowns they wore! Unless otherwise credited, photos are by Joann Wilborn/Marlyn Woo and are copyrighted.
2017 Princesses Natalie Rose Petrosian, Lauren “Emi” Emiko Powers, and Maya Kawaguchi Khan performed one of the final Royal Court duties of orienting the hundreds of girls who were trying out for 2018.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
For many teenage girls living in the Pasadena area, trying out for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court is a family or school tradition. They come with their friends and each has a story about why she wants to represent the Tournament and the community in the 129th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2018 and throughout the year. Seven young women will be chosen to promote the 2018 theme “Making a Difference” by serving for a year on the 2018 Royal Court. One of those seven will become the 100th Rose Queen, an event so monumental that Pasadena Museum of History has an exhibit dedicated to the Royal Court.
We spoke with some of the teens who came on a beautiful Saturday morning with a cool high for the day of 90 degrees—much nicer than the 100+ temperatures of past tryouts. We caught them before their turn in front of the panel of judges to say, in a few seconds, why they wanted to be on the Court. They had a bit more time with The Rose Examiner! Here, with their photos, are their comments. Be sure to check out the gallery, too, which has lots of photos of the event. All the articles on the Royal Court are linked on this dedicated page as they are posted.
Olivia and Reagan attend La Cañada Flintridge High School. Olivia is a recipient of the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts. She “loves volunteering,” and said serving on the Royal Court “would be the perfect icing on the cake.” She added that it would be a great experience to have. Reagan said she was very excited about the tryouts. “I’m a little nervous, actually,” she admitted. She thought about what she would say to the judges, “but I don’t want to sound too scripted.”
Savannah and Celine attend AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School in Pasadena (hereafter referred to as AGBU) and Kasen, Jennifer, Delia, and Bridgitte attend Arcadia High School. All of the girls understood the effect they could in the community. Savannah wants to promote equality for all, and Kasen, Jennifer, and Bridgette would like to inspire other youth. “I want to set a good example for them to live out their dreams,” Jennifer said. Delia would like to be a role model by “projecting self-confidence to young girls.” Celine took a different tack: She lives in the moment, she said, and relishes the experience of trying out for the Royal Court.
Kristen and Danielle are students at Marshall Fundamental High School in Pasadena. They talked about how they might make a difference on the Royal Court. “I’m part of the National Charity League,” Kristen said, “so I contribute a lot of time. With this, I can help even more.” Danielle said she has made a difference in her work with teaching swim classes and water safety to children.
Lara, a student at AGBU, said, “I feel like being an Armenian on the Court would bring awareness to the Armenian community.” She noted that there is a large Armenian population in Pasadena, and we discussed that it goes back to the early years of the 20th century. She was proud that the American Armenian Rose Float Association would have a fourth float in the 2018 parade.Danielle attends Arcadia High School. “I really would enjoy this opportunity to inspire young girls,” she said, and to “really make a difference” in the community.
We always like to talk to at least one boy in the line. Ashley, James, and Samantha all attend La Salle High School in Pasadena. Sometimes the guys come just to get the pair of tickets to the Royal Ball that all applicants receive, but Jamesassured us that he had more on his mind. Speaking with a polite tone, he said, “I’m here to make a difference. I’m here because this is a Tournament that seems to be sexist.” He isn’t the first young man to express that thought! Ashley (L.) said that the diversity and service she found speaks to her heart. Samantha wants to represent student athletes. “I want bring something new,” she said. “I want to represent those who excel in their sports.”
Simone, from Marshall, came with her mom Cathy. Born and raised in this city, Simone said. “I’m here today because I love Pasadena,” adding that she will “bring a positive energy to the Royal Court. I hope to get to the next round. I’m happy to be here!”
Mariajosé attends John Muir High School in Pasadena and Kimberley goes to Marshall. Mariajosé said, “I just want to try out. Everyone’s been talking about it in school.” She inspired The Rose Examiner with her candor when she added, “This is the first time doing something out of my comfort zone.” As we walk down the line, we can only speak with a few girls. Kimberley, with her rose-bedecked dress, stood out. “I wanted to show who I am,” she said. My culture shows who I am, and this dress shows my culture, because of the flowers.”
Filling out an application, standing in a long line in the sun, crowding onto the Tournament House porch for orientation, walking—usually nervously—up to a panel of 10 or 11 judges, and leaving Tournament House with a poster after a tour is a rite of passage for hundreds of girls who live within the boundaries of Pasadena City College. Some come to be with friends or for the experience, some come with grander ideas in mind. Some, like Lara and Kimberley, are proud of their culture and how it contributes to who they are as individuals. Some, like James, want to make a point. For some, like Mariajosé, it is a personal challenge. For writers like The Rose Examiner, it is inspirational.
NOTE: This is a reposting of an article that appeared on Examiner.com on Jan. 9, 2014. It is being reposted in honor of the women who rode the float, all of whom have now taken their final flights.
When the Wingtip to Wingtip float passed the stands, Rose Parade viewers spontaneously stood to honor the women who undergirded the Allied air supremacy in World War II. “Our Eyes Are on the Stars” was built by Fiesta Parade Floats for the 2014 parade to commemorate the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) units that were disbanded 70 years ago. It won the National Trophy for Best Depiction of Life in the USA, Past, Present or Future.
Out of several thousand applicants, 1,102 were chosen to fly military aircraft all over the United States. They ferried planes from builder to base, tested aircraft for the boys to fly in battle, and flew tow targets to train gunners. The WASP flew 77 different types of American military planes, including AT-6, P-52 and B-29, more than 60 million miles. Thirty-eight gave their lives.
Live from the Pasadena Convention Center, August 5, 2012: Members of the Mars Science Laboratory team at the Jet Propulsion Lab with Curiosity’s first two photos
by Laura Berthold Monteros
This article first appeared in Altadenablog five years ago, on the day of the Mars Science Laboratory landing.
Seven minutes of terror: seven minutes between the time the Mars Science Lab capsule entered the Mars atmosphere and the MSL team at JPL learned whether the rover Curiosity had safely landed.
Fourteen minutes of jubilation: 14 minutes of nonstop cheering in the Pasadena Convention Center, as the Planetfest crowd heard the news that Curiosity had set all six wheels on the surface of the Red Planet at 10:31 p.m. PDT on Monday. Punctuated by photos flashing onto the screens and urged on by Bill Nye and Bruce Betts of The Planetary Society, 2,000 people in the ballroom and another 1,000 at the Pasadena Civic Center chanted “JPL! JPL!”
The folks at JPL, that real-life sci-fi community nestled at the top of the Arroyo Seco, had done it again, and we were there to catch it live. Well, not quite live, since the signal took 14 minutes to get to earth, but live for us, and as exciting as all get out. Scientists and engineers embraced each other, folks at the Convention Center high-fived strangers, and the orbiter Odyssey outdid itself by relaying not the “maybe one” photo that was promised, but four splendid, spectacular shots.
An enchanted passage into the Arroyo, designed by Phoenix Decorating Company and covered in all natural botanicals. Photo c.2017 Carlos Monteros
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The excitement was apparent in publicist Chuck Hayes’ voice when we talked on the phone this evening about Phoenix Decorating Company’s latest build. The most prolific float builder for the Tournament of Roses Parade, the company was tapped by Goldenvoice to build an entry archway for the Arroyo Seco Weekend coming up this Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. It’s a classic Rose Parade rendition of a Pasadena icon, the Spanish Colonial Revival City Hall. The Spanish tile dome and copper-clad cupola perches on a 20-foot-wide sculpture patterned after the rotunda arches.
In classic float style, the Tournament of Roses Archway is covered in botanical materials chosen by COO and Floral Director Lyn Lofthouse. She used light lettuce seed, poppy seed, ground onion seed, coconut, powdered rice, lima beans, navy beans, black beans, and strawflower. Hayes also gave credit to Production Manager Sean McMinimy and the skilled crew at Phoenix in completing the project.
Phoenix Decorating Company President and CEO Chris Lofthouse stated, “Phoenix Decorating Company was honored to be asked to create the Arroyo Seco Weekend Archway in the style of a Rose Parade Float by Goldenvoice, it is our hope that the people who visit the festival will return on January 1, 2018 to see our floats in the Rose Parade.”
While only a few people can ride on a Rose Parade float, thousands of people will get a taste of the experience as they enter the festival through the decorated arch over the two days. The freestanding piece stands 20 feet high with arches 13 feet high and 13 feet wide. It weighs more than 2,000 pounds. It was towed from the float barn in Irwindale on a flatbed, with the dome lying beside the arch.
Hayes chuckled, “You know we don’t like tows!” The company usually drives the floats from parade route to the float barn—and no builder likes an emergency tow during the Rose Parade—but in this case, the logistics of getting the piece down into the low-lying Rose Bowl area required a bit of help.
Forty-five organizations received checks from the Tournament of Roses Foundation on May 31.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
On Wednesday, the Tournament of Roses Foundation presented 45 non-profit organizations out of 81 applicants with grants totaling $200,000. Thirteen of the recipients were awarded grants for the first time. The Foundation is a tax-exempt non-profit public benefit corporation which has given more than $3 million to organizations in the San Gabriel Valley that work with children and adults in the areas of sports and recreation, visual and performing arts, and volunteer motivation and leadership development.
At the annual Self-Built Floats picnic on May 6, 2017, folks huddled under canopies to nosh on burgers and potluck.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Self-Built float associations may compete for trophies in the Tournament of Roses Parade, but there is a lot of camaraderie and mutual aid among the volunteers and students who build the entries. Of the 40 to 45 flower-covered floats, all but six are built by professional float companies. The six associations take turns hosting an annual potluck get-together to display the renderings and share stories. The Rose Examiner was honored to attend today’s event, in anticipation of the 129th Rose Parade to be held on Jan. 1, 2018.
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association hosted barbecue at Los Angeles County Fire Camp 2, a training facility tucked between the Jet Propulsion Lab and Hahamongna Watershed Park. Tables were filled with potluck sides and desserts while LCFTRA volunteers grilled burgers and hot dogs. A fragrant log fire warmed our hands in the steady rain. It was the end of a typical spring week in Southern California, which saw sunny 90-degree-plus days in the first half of the week drop to 60 degrees for the weekend.
The six self-builders are Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, Cal Poly Universities, Downey Rose Float Association, La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, Sierra Madre Rose Float Association, and South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. DRFA and SPTORA were unable to make picnic, but we have photos of the rest.
Sorting through Rose Parade photos, we came across these snapshots from Live on Green, so we put together an album to share some of the sights. Live on Green was held on the three days preceding the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade. It’s a place for folks to drop in while they are waiting for the big day, whether they are from the community or in town for the Rose Parade.
The event focused on the United States Air Force in celebration of its 70th anniversary. One of the halls in the Pasadena Convention Center was filled with Air Force displays and interactive exhibits for science and engineering. Another had beach volleyball and other sports, chalk drawing, and the Dole Whip booth. Music, entertainment, and celebrity chefs sharing their recipes were throughout the campus.
Representing the non-profits that enrich the community were Food Share, which collects food for its Ventura County food bank; Pasadena Humane Society, with the mobile adoption unit; Union Station Homeless Services, San Gabriel Valley’s largest social services agency; and ONE Archives Foundation from USC.
ONE has the largest collection of LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) materials in the world. It was named after a magazine founded in 1952 specifically for the homosexual community. The archive has a collection of travel guides that lasted safe places for LGBTQ tourists to visit and stay. There are three million pieces in the collection, which make it a valuable resource for researchers. Some 720 used the collections in 2016, and 120 educational history panels are available to schools, non-profits, and community events.
Read the captions to the photos for more about what we saw!
Photo right: Mannequin members of the USC Trojan Marching Band and Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band guard the newly-minted Sweepstakes Trophy, given to the most beautiful entry in parade with outstanding floral presentation and design.
It was 2011 when we first wrote about the California Grown credential awarded by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). The California Clock Company contacted us about their 2012 Rose Parade float celebrating their 80th anniversary and their most famous product, the ubiquitous Kit-Cat clock. They insisted on floral materials that were grown in California, and along with Cal Poly Universities, achieved California Grown status. In order to be certified, 85 percent of the floral materials on an entry must be grown in the Golden State.
By 2017, three floats and the Tournament of Roses vehicles carrying Rose Parade honorees, received certification, despite the years-long drought that plagued California agriculture until early 2017. The floats were Miracle-Gro “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” Cal Poly Universities “A New Leaf,” and California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) “Legacy of Generations.” We were able to attend the ceremonies at Fiesta Parade Floats for Miracle-Gro and CMAB, but there are photos of all the honorees below, along with links to more extensive articles on the Tournament of Roses entries.