Tournament of Roses crowns 100th Rose Queen Isabella: Photo gallery

100th Rose Queen Isabella Marie Marez is flanked by (L-R) Rose Princesses Georgia Jane Cervenka, Sydney Grace Pickering, Julianne Elise Lauenstein, Alexandra Marie Artura, Savannah Rose Bradley, Lauren Elizabeth Buehner

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

One of the most exciting events for Rose Parade aficionados—and that includes people all across America—is the Announcement and Coronation of the Rose Queen and Presentation of the Royal Court. This year, people were especially riveted, because the young woman who made it from one of 700 to one of seven would serve as the 100th Rose Queen. She will preside over the 129th Rose Parade and the 104th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018 and will be asked a thousand times what it is like to be Number 100.

The audience waited breathlessly last Wednesday evening as Pres. Lance Tibbet pulled the name out of the envelope he had been handed by Queen & Court chair Dave Link. Reporters and photographers had pens and cameras at the ready. The seven girls on the Royal Court held hands, some with eyes closed, and steeled themselves for the decision one way or another. And it came, so swiftly after what must have seemed like an eternity to them.

Pres. Tibbet announced, “The 100th Rose Queen, from La Salle High School, is Isabella Marie Marez!” The audience exploded. The princesses on the Royal Court swarmed Queen Isabella. The moment had arrived and passed, and the Queen for a Year retreated to change from her champagne and pink gown into pure white.

Making a Difference

The event is more than the announcement, of course. It’s about pageantry and history and fun, and the accomplishments of the young women who will serve as ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses. We attempt to capture some of that in this article; the photo gallery at the end of this article takes you there in images.

After a reception on the patio of the historic Pasadena Playhouse, also celebrating 100 years, the milling crowd left the tiled patio and entered the auditorium, an ornate Spanish Colonial Revival space that holds wisps of Old California and memories of young actors who rose to stardom after performing on that stage. It is the perfect place for two grand and venerable and youthful institutions to meet.

The princesses opened the program by introducing themselves and welcomed the 113th President of the Tournament of Roses, Lance Tibbet, and then hurried off to change into the lovely lace gowns designed by Tadashi Shoji.

Each president has a particular focus he or she wants emphasize in the many events the Tournament puts on each year. He distills that into a theme; for Tibbet, it is “Making a Difference.” The girls “each have different stories,” he said. “These girls are already making a difference.” He mentioned that they, like the presidents of the Tournament, stand on the shoulders of those who have come before them.

“The Tournament of Roses brings people together,” Tibbet said. “It reminds us that there is kindness in humankind.”

Each year, the Royal Court picks a charity to receive funds from the coronation ticket sales. This year, it was Elizabeth House, a Pasadena residence that was founded 24 years ago to help homeless pregnant women and their children with programs that will get them on their feet. Executive Director Debora Unruh told us that the shelter, which houses women and any children they have through their pregnancies and for two to four months after their babies are born, received a grant from the Tournament of Roses Foundation in the past.

Presentation of the Royal Court

After his speech, it was time for the 2018 Royal Court to be formally presented. In a nice touch, each father each did a voice over introducing his daughter as she was escorted to her place on the stage by a White Suiter. Her accomplishments were read as snapshots of her life flashed on a screen in the background. For some of the dads, it was an emotional moment. Jesse Marez took a pause of several seconds between his last sentence and reading out his daughter Isabella’s name. Had he forgotten that piece of the introduction? No, it turns out that he was fighting back tears. (Later, Queen Isabella said that he is her best friend, that he cries a lot, and they had teased each other about whether or not he would cry at the ceremony.)

As each young woman entered the spotlight, emcee Ellen K of KOST 103.5FM interviewed her briefly. It was clear that each one of these young ladies has the personality and credentials to be the queen. The lists of volunteer and community service activities are staggering: hospitals, charity organizations, clubs, and one in Belize working to provide clean water. They are Girl Scouts Gold Award recipients, athletes, members of academic honors societies, and leaders.

And then the Rose Queen was announced, there were cheers and tears, as the princesses retired backstage to leave their white rose nosegays and receive their tiaras, and for the queen to change her gown. Other members of the Tournament of Roses family were introduced during the interim.

Little princesses and grown-up queens

Two Make-A-Wish children, Madelyn Kirkpatrick, dressed as Princess Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and Miracle Henderson, dressed as Princess Anna from Frozen came onstage to talk with Ellen K. Madelyn’s wish is to go to Disneyland, and Miracle’s is to go to Disney World. We asked parents Torin and Sara Kirkpatrick and Darryl and Veronica Henderson why the girls were picked, and Torin said, “They chose two girls who like princesses.” Guess that’s a good reason!

Next up was 99th Rose Queen Victoria Castellanos, a graduate of the Temple City High School music program, who sang beautifully and emotionally. Tori was followed by the Grand Dame Margaret Huntley Main, the 22nd Rose Queen and co-founder of the Queens Club with Sally Stanton Rubsamen. She was surrounded by 18 previous Rose Queens.

Never shy with a microphone, Ms. Main quoted the title of her book, A Rose Queen Is Forever. (The title came from a Kodak float of the past, on which 52 Rose Queens appeared.) She told Ellen K that when she received the crown, “I vowed to be the best Queen I could, and every one of us has made the same vow.” Several of the queens spoke about what it has meant to them to be a Rose Queen.

The Coronation

And then it was time. Each Rose Princess, now with a pearl tiara in her hair, glided onto the stage on the arm of her father: Georgia, Lauren, Sydney, Savannah, Julianne, Alexandra. 2017 princesses Maya Kawaguchi Khan, Shannon Larsuel, and Natalie Petrosian handed red rose bouquets to each. Last of all, Queen Isabella stepped into the spotlight. John Cotter, who comes with the Mikimoto crown, handed the diadem to a gloved Tibbet, and the president placed it on Isabella’s head. The final formality, the recitation of the Rose Queen Oath, ended with “I now proclaim you the 100th Rose Queen!” And then it was time for photos and interviews, and celebrity treatment that would bowl any high school girl over—except for one as exceptionally grounded as the seven young women on the 2018 Royal Court.

Rose Queen Isabella Marie Marez

When we spoke with Princess Isabella after the Royal Court was announced earlier this month, we asked why she had tried out. She said she wanted to get out of her comfort zone, which is playing softball and getting dirty and sweaty. When we spoke with Queen Isabella after the ceremony, we asked if she had gotten out of that comfort zone. “Way out of it! 10,000 miles!” she enthused. “The Court made me my best self.”

She said the formal ball gown “is way different from my uniform.” Softball pants are easy to move around in and have lots of legroom. The gown though, is “more comfortable than I thought.” The full skirt allows for movement, and the gown is tailored to her exact measurements.

At age 17, Queen Isabella has already compiled a lengthy list of accomplishments and service, as have the other girls on the Court, which are listed here. What does she think made her stand out to the Queen & Court Committee members? “I think it’s my passion for what I do,” she responded, citing her work on women’s rights and other social justice issues. She believes in treating all people equally, which is a good quality for a queen, we think.

Isabella lives in Altadena, a community just north of Pasadena. She likes the confluence of town and nature in Altadena; one of her favorite memories is the smell and comfort of being in the forest among the trees. Her parents are Jesse Marez and Christine Marez and she has four siblings, Alexandra, Jennifer, Justin and William.

Just for fun, here are some coincidences in Isabella’s life on the court. Like the 99th Rose Queen Victoria, she bears the name of a famous queen from history. The girl she stood next to for court appearances from Oct. 1 to her coronation is named Alexandra Marie, a combination of her middle name and her sister’s first name. Since applicants are only known by number until the final round, her No. 469 she would have spent a good deal of time near No. 470, Princess Julianne.

For all the articles on the 2018 Royal Court, check out our dedicated webpage.

 

All photos are copyright by Laura B. Monteros

Tournament of Roses 2018 Royal Court Princess profiles

Suddenly Stars: The 2018 Tournament of Roses Royal Court

Julianne Elise Lauenstein, La Cañada HS; Sydney Grace Pickering, Arcadia HS; Savannah Rose Bradley, Pasadena HS; Georgia Jane Cervenka, La Cañada HS; Lauren Elizabeth Buehner, Arcadia HS; Isabella Marie Marez, La Salle HS; Alexandra Marie Artura, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

One of seven amazing young women will be the 100th Rose Queen, reigning over the 129th Rose Parade and 104th Rose Bowl Game, which take place on Jan. 1, 2018. All of them will be Pasadena Royalty, serving as ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena, as well as their own communities and schools. On Monday on the south porch of Tournament House, 37 finalists stood waiting for Pres. Lance Tibbet to announce the names of the girls chosen for this role. Each one is outstanding, as readers will discover, and lives out the theme “Making a Difference.”

Be sure to check out the gallery below for photos and more about the Royal Court announcement. For more articles on the 2018 Royal Court, visit our special 2018 Royal Court page.

Queen & Court Committee Chair Dave Link gave a brief history of the Rose Parade queens, and then called the name and number of each finalist. After they took their places on the south steps of Tournament House, Pres. Tibbet came to the lectern.

“We acknowledge the 99 special women who made this possible,” he said of the previous queens, and noted the high level of character and comportment they had established. Referring to the finalists, he said, “These young women have been making a difference in the community.” He opened envelopes and read the schools and names of the Royal Court members.

When the ceremony was over, we asked each Princess two questions: “What do you want to accomplish as a Rose Princess?” and “Why did you want to be on the Court?” Here are their answers, along with bios provided by the Tournament of Roses.

Rose Princess Alexandra Marie Artura told us she wants to lead by example and make a long-lasting difference. She has watched the Rose Parade ever since she was young, and wants to be a role model like previous members of the Royal Court.

Princess Alexandra is a senior at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy and lives in Pasadena. She is currently president of the National Honor Society, a National Hispanic Scholar, and a member of the California Scholarship Federation, Mu Alpha Theta and La Vanguardia.  She also participates on her high school’s cross-country team. Alexandra enjoys cooking and baking with her mom, skiing with her dad and brother, watching movies, spending time with her friends, and playing the guitar. Alexandra plans to study Health Sciences and would like to go to Boston University, Georgetown, USC, UCLA and many others. Alexandra is the daughter of Darren and Carla Artura; she has one brother, Sean.

“Making A Difference means changing something for the better, not only for myself but for others and for my community,” she said. “To me personally, I think that small differences are just as important as big ones. What matters is that we have helped someone to better their own lives, and hopefully that change is a long-term one.”

Rose Princess Savannah Rose Bradley told us, “I really want to make a difference.” She wants to inspire people. Growing up in the Pasadena area inspired her to try for the Royal Court , but she added, “My sisters love princesses.” She can now be their real-life princess!

Princess Savannah is a senior at Pasadena High School and lives in Pasadena.  She is president of Xinos and Kudos of Gamma Lambda, activities commissioner for the Black Student Union and a writer for The Chronicle, the PHS newspaper. She is also involved with the Social Justice Club, Teen Court, Rose Ambassadors, and the 2018 Club.  Savannah enjoys reading, hiking, traveling, camping, and spending time with friends. Savannah plans to study social justice, criminal justice, and psychology and would like to attend CSU Fullerton, UC Irvine, Cal State LA, Cal State Long Beach, Howard University, or Marymount University. Savannah is the daughter of Nathaniel and Kelly Bradley; she has three siblings, Tyler, Jazlyn and Ella.

“Making A Difference means everything to me,” she explained. “My goal in life is to make a difference, even on the smallest of scales. I don’t need to change the world, but it would be a privilege to be given the ability to change the world for even one person. Making A difference is not just about the large acts, but the small everyday acts we do for people that make a difference in the world.”

Rose Princess Lauren Elizabeth Buehner told us that she wants to “empower young boys and girls, to be an example.” She wants to bring the community together, observing that there is a lot to be done. “When I was 11 years old, I looked up to the Royal Court,” she said, which inspired her to strive to be role model. What impressed us is that this is the first time a Princess intentionally mentioned boys.

Princess Lauren is a senior at Arcadia High School and lives in Arcadia. She is president of the YMCA Youth and Government Santa Anita Delegation, publicity commissioner for the AHS Senior Men and Women, and a member of the AHS track and field team. Lauren enjoys board games, reading, baking, brewing cold brew coffee at home, and volunteering with young children, both locally and internationally. She plans on studying Political Science and/or International Relations and would like to attend Columbia University, Brown University or Georgetown University. Lauren is the daughter of Earl Buehner and Fern Billingy; she has a brother, Nathaniel.

“Making A Difference means creating long-term change. The most important part of progress is not what I personally do to make it, but ensuring that it can continue, even in my absence,” she said. “Making a difference also means having an impact on others. I want to foster a relationship with the members of my community, and empower them to make positive changes in both themselves and their surroundings. I believe that working with others toward long-term goals creates limitless opportunities for improvement, and truly makes a difference.”

Rose Princess Georgia Jane Cervenka told us she wants to embody the opportunity to serve as an example to young girls. Being on the Court comes naturally for her, since three of her babysitters were Princesses. We asked if they gave her any tips. She chuckled, “No!”

Princess Georgia is a senior at La Cañada High School and lives in La Cañada. She is vice president of the Best Buddies club, a member of the La Cañada Flintridge Youth Council, and a member of the LCHS Concert Choir. Georgia’s community involvement includes Girl Scouts and National Charity League.  She is a captain of the LCSH girls’ basketball team and has played at the varsity level for three years. Georgia enjoys working with children and animals.  Currently she plans to study engineering and would like to attend University of Michigan, University of Southern California, or Vanderbilt. Georgia is the daughter of John and Kerry Cervenka; she has three siblings, Franklyn, John and Lilah.

“Making A Difference means pursuing your passions in a way that allows you to create an impact that goes beyond yourself,” she said.  “It means exploring your interests and what you love to do by setting an example for others to look to as inspiration and motivation.  However, you don’t have to change the world to make a difference.  Something as small as performing a simple act of kindness can result in the greatest repercussions.  Making a difference is not always easy, but it is perpetually needed and infinitely rewarding.”

Rose Princess Julianne Elise Lauenstein said, “I want to do everything I can to help out the community.” Being on the Royal Court has been one of her dreams, and one of her grandmother’s dreams. Her grandmother encouraged her, as the only granddaughter, to go for it. Her grandparents told The Rose Examiner that she is a Gold Award Girl Scout. Read more about that below.

Princess Julianne is a senior at La Cañada High School and lives in La Cañada. She is a member of the French Club at LCHS and attends various Chamber of Commerce events serving as an ambassador. Julianne has been a dancer for 13 years, trained in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, and lyrical styles. She is a volunteer on the surgical recovery floor at Huntington Memorial Hospital, and a member of the Glendale Chapter of National Charity League. She enjoys cooking and baking, and playing the piano.  Julianne plans to study biology or human physiology and would like to attend Boston University or University of Washington. Julianne is the daughter of Peter Lauenstein and Teri Daly Lauenstein; she has two brothers, Thomas and Michael.

“Making A Difference in my community has always been an important part of my life.  I have grown up watching my parents volunteer and contribute to our community,” she said. “I have been blessed and afforded many wonderful opportunities and believe it is my duty to help others in need and improve my community.  By volunteering, we can bridge economic and social gaps and learn to appreciate the value that we all possess.”

Rose Princess Isabella Marie Marez told us she wants to “bring people awareness about the issues in the world.” She is especially concerned about social justice. She said she tried out for the Court to get out of her comfort zone, which is playing softball and getting dirty and sweaty. “My family always supports me in everything I do,” she said. We noticed that she must be comfortable speaking to people to be chosen for the court, with which Princess Alexandra agreed enthusiastically.

Princess Isabella is a senior at La Salle High School and lives in Altadena. She is a leadership service commissioner at LSHS and a Youth Ministry leader. Isabella is a member of Support Our Troops Club, Key Club, Unbreakable Club, Hispanic National Honors Society and National Arts Society. She also serves as a Junior Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.  She participates in varsity softball, varsity golf and a travel/club softball team. Isabella enjoys painting, singing, golfing and hiking. She plans on studying social justice and human anatomy and would like to attend Seattle University, Manhattan College, Regis University, Villanova University, Drexel University, or Sarah Lawrence College. Isabella is the daughter of Jesse Marez and Christine Marez; she has four siblings, Alexandra, Jennifer, Justin and William.

“This year’s theme Making A Difference means a lot to me,” she said. “When I first heard about it I was very excited because making a difference is something I do every day within my school, family, and community. It’s out of compassion and respect for that person as another human being.”

Rose Princess Sydney Grace Pickering agreed with Princess Julianne about helping out the community. She first met the Rose Queen and Rose Princesses when she was a little girl at a Girl Scout event. The young women impressed her; now she will be that Princess who inspires other girls.

Princess Sydney is a senior at Arcadia High School and lives in Arcadia. She is dance captain of the Orchesis Dance Company, serves on ASB as performing arts commissioner, and serves as chair of the Student Counsel Apache Commission. Sydney has been a Girl Scout since kindergarten and is currently working on her Gold Award. She enjoys gardening, reading, drinking boba with friends, and watching Netflix. She plans to study International Relations or Global Studies and would like to attend Georgetown or UCLA. Sydney is the daughter of Brad and Mary Pickering; she has one brother, Wesley.

“To me, Making A Difference is about the ability to bring people together through acts of selflessness, kindness, and compassion,” she said. “It is about giving generously to others and not expecting anything in return. As a princess on the Royal Court, making a difference is about inspiring involvement, joy, and appreciation in community members.” 


In addition to meeting the young women on the Royal Court, it’s always inspiring to talk to their parents and grandparents. We spoke with Donna and Alan Wright, Rose Princess Julianne’s grandparents. This was especially fun since Julianne had told us how her grandmother encouraged her.

Donna & Alan Wright

The Wrights have 10 grandsons and one granddaughter, Rose Princess Julianne Elise Lauenstein. Alan said he is “proud and excited” for his granddaughter. Having grown up with so many boys, Princess Julianne “holds her own,” Donna said. Some of the cousins are quite a bit older, and when Julianne gets all dressed up, she complains, “They never notice,” Donna added. We think they will notice now.

As a Girl Scout, she volunteers a lot, and has earned her Gold Award. Her project was to collect bicycles to give to children who never had one, and she collected 43. Getting the bikes was only the first step, Donna said, because they needed repair. “People chipped in to get them in nice condition,” but the kids didn’t know how to ride, so Julianne taught them.

We asked Donna what Julianne would do on the Court. “Whatever she wants to,” she affirmed.  Grandma is looking forward to the Coronation on Oct. 18. “I will come to anything and everything I’m invited to,” she said.

Royal Court hopefuls line up for an opportunity to be a princess in the 2018 Rose Parade

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

 

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, Celine, Kasen, Jennifer, Delia, Bridgitte

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

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 and Danielle

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.

 

Ashley, James, Samantha

 

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 James assured 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 and Cathy

 

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 and Kimberley

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.

 

All photos copyright 2017 Laura B. Monteros

 

Wingtip to Wingtip, WASP fly with the best in the 2014 Rose Parade

WASP pilots Shirley Kruse, Jean McCreery and Barbara Simon. Copyright L.B. Monteros 2013

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

NOTE: This is a reposting of an article that appeared on Examiner.com on Dec. 29, 2013. The last WASP to ride on the 2014 float “Our Eyes Are on the Stars” slipped the surly bonds of earth yesterday.

It was guys in planes who won the war, right?  The war, World War II.  The guys tested the aircraft and flew them from here to there.  Well, there were a few, but according to the National WASP World War II Museum, more than 50 percent of the ferrying of high-speed pursuit aircraft (now called fighters) between 1942 and 1944 was done by women.  These women were WASP.

Examiner interviewed three of these women today at Fiesta Parade Floats, where “Our Eyes Are On The Stars,” a float to honor the Women Airforce Service Pilots, is being built.  The service they performed was ferrying fighters across the country, flying tow target tests for shooting practice, and testing planes so that the men could fly them overseas.

We spoke with pilots Shirley Kruse, Jean McCreery and Barbara Simon who have come to Pasadena for the Rose Parade.  When the war ended, the WASP were dismissed without benefits, without even bus fare home.  “It was a wonderful time, I tell you,” Kruse said.  “We were so disappointed when we were deactivated.  They Continue reading “Wingtip to Wingtip, WASP fly with the best in the 2014 Rose Parade”

Twenty Mule Team brings back Death Valley Days with remarkable craftsmanship

Living history: Twenty Mule Team pulls replicas of the iconic Death Valley boron ore wagons down the 2017 Rose Parade route. In the wagons are the family of Pres. Brad Ratliff and people involved in bringing this piece of history to life. Copyright 2017 R. Monteros

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The last time the Twenty Mule Team pulled freight wagons along Colorado Blvd. in the Rose Parade was 1999, when Pres. Dick Ratliff chose the 110-year-old wagons as his personal conveyance. They were back on Jan. 2, 2017 for the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade at the request of Pres. Brad Ratliff, Dick’s son, in an illustration of his theme “Echoes of Success.” He and his family filled two wagons, this time brand-new replicas of the original 1882 lorries that hauled 10 tons of borax each. The Ratliff family was a light load by comparison, so the wagons had to be weighted with huge water tanks.

“Mules need the weight to pull,” Preston Chiaro, president of the Death Valley Conservancy (DVC),  said adding that the weight also helps with braking. Plywood platforms and hay bales were included so the riders could stand and wave to the crowd.

The third appearance of the team was also an echo of its first Rose Parade appearance a century ago, when it also appeared in the inauguration parade of Pres. Woodrow Wilson. The wagons were decorated for the parade by FTD floral designers J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and Peter Samek, AIFD. White told The Rose Examiner during Deco Week that he wasn’t sure how he would flower what seem like gigantic wooden bins, but the photos show that they did an excellent job of nesting white and red roses in green garlands, with white tulips, carnations, baby breath, and other flowers as accents.

Be sure to check out the gallery below for photos and more information in the captions.

The commission to build the wagons came in January, 2016, and was given to Dave Engel, owner of Engel’s Coach Shop in Joliet, Mont. The shop builds and restores equine-drawn conveyances from sleds to broughams to Yellowstone coaches. He started on this project Continue reading “Twenty Mule Team brings back Death Valley Days with remarkable craftsmanship”

California Milk Advisory Board celebrates 200+ years of dairy farming with 2017 Rose Parade float

“Legacy of Generations” sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board honored the two-century heritage of dairy farming in the Golden State. Many of the decoration materials on the California Milk Advisory Board float represent the food dairy farm families feed their dairy cows. Cows consume food byproducts (citrus pulp, almond hulls, corn stalks), which not only keeps them out of landfills, but is turned by cows into nutritious milk. Ground almond hulls, walnut shells, whole barley, flax seed and oats are used. Many of the materials on the float represent the food dairy farm families feed their dairy cows, byproducts such as citrus pulp, almond hulls, walnut shells, whole barley, flax seed and cottonseed, oats, and corn stalks.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Quick! Which state is Number One in dairy production? Wisconsin? Texas? How about Minnesota? Nope. The top dairy state is also home to the Tournament of Roses. California produces almost 50 percent more milk with 40 percent more cows than the next state. California produced enough milk in 2015 to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium 58 times.

“Legacy of Generations,” sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), celebrated more than 200 years of dairy farming and families in the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, 2017. The float, a confection of ice cream, milk, yogurt, and cheese in flowers, was designed by Art Aguirre and built by Fiesta Parade Floats. Riders were from multi-generational dairy families representing more than 1,300 dairy farm families in the state, families which own and operate 99 percent of the dairy farms in the Golden State. With one in five cows in the United States residing in California, a Holstein graced her very own satellite float.

We spoke with some of the riders who were present at the California Grown presentation at Fiesta Parade Floats on Jan. 1. More about the presentation, which honors Rose Parade entries that use at least 85 percent California grown flowers, in a later article. For now, we will focus on these folks who provide milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and all kinds of dairy products to California and the nation. There are short videos of some of them on the CMAB website. (Scroll down a bit.)

Photos of the California Milk Advistory Board float are in the gallery below, with descriptions of the materials used.

Many of the materials on the float represent the food dairy farm families feed their dairy cows, byproducts such as citrus pulp, almond hulls, walnut shells, Continue reading “California Milk Advisory Board celebrates 200+ years of dairy farming with 2017 Rose Parade float”

Lucy Pet presents surfing dogs and football cats at the Rose Parade Showcase of Floats: Video, photos

Joey Herrick, founder of Lucy Pet Foundation and Lucy Pet Products, with the dog that started it all, Lucy herself. Rose Parade Showcase of Floats, Jan. 3, 2017.
Joey Herrick with the dog that started it all, Lucy herself.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Second in a series of two

Joey Herrick made a splash at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade with a passel of pooches surfing on a 65-foot long wave in a gigantic tank of water. In addition to winning the Extraordinaire Trophy for “Most Spectacular Float,” Lucy Pet’s “Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker” broke two Guinness World Records. Read about that here. As “Who Let the Dogs Out” boomed over the Showcase of Floats, we got an opportunity to talk to Herrick and Doc Karen Halligan and to climb the 24-foot tall float to video the dogs.

After Herrick retired from Natural Balance pet foods, he embarked on a mission to drastically reduce the number of stray dogs and cats and the four million that shelters put down annually. He founded Lucy Pet Foundation, named after a stray Chihuahua he rescued, and fitted out a motor home as a self-contained mobile clinic that can spay and neuter more than 120 pets each week. His goal is to have mobile clinic in every major city in the country. It’s estimated that just one clinic can prevent 120,000 animals being added to the homeless pet population.

“The float is the greatest publicity for Lucy Pet,” he told The Rose Examiner. Noting the huge Continue reading “Lucy Pet presents surfing dogs and football cats at the Rose Parade Showcase of Floats: Video, photos”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation honors Orlando shooting victims on 2017 Rose Parade float

A white dove, symbol of world peace, soars above a field of 49 stars, one for each of those who died. The double rainbow exemplifies promise, beauty and  enlightenment with the message of eternal hope and life. Replicas of actual messages of condolences from those who lost loved ones flutter from the Memorial Tree. Stored inside the float are more than 5,000 memorial notes from around the world. Courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

On June 12, 2016, 49 men and women were killed and 53 others wounded in a mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub Pulse. On Jan. 2, 2017, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) float will honor the victims on a beautiful Rose Parade float, “To Honor & Remember Orlando.” It is designed by Art Aguirre and built by Fiesta Parade Floats. We spoke about the choice of theme and what it means to the community with three of the riders, Ged Kinslea, Senior Director, Communications for AHF; Gustavo Marrero, Vice President of Impulse Group Orlando; and Corey Lyons, President of Impulse Group Orlando.

Kinslea said that with 2017 being the 30th anniversary of AHF, the original idea had been to celebrate that anniversary on their annual float. “Fiesta Parade Floats reaches out early in the year and gives us the theme,” he said, but AHF doesn’t firm up a concept until July or August. “June 12 happened. As soon as that hit, we decided that should be the focus. We delegated it to Fiesta. The direction AHF gave was to “be spectacular.” AHF and Impulse Group were presented with three designs, and both agreed on the one illustrated above.

In choosing the theme, Marrero said, “Remembering and honoring those we lost in Orlando is the primary focus. Secondary is shedding light that Orlando still needs their help.” The float is a great opportunity to shed light on families, victims, and survivors of the tragedy, he said, and to honor lost lives and look to a better future. Impulse consulted Continue reading “AIDS Healthcare Foundation honors Orlando shooting victims on 2017 Rose Parade float”

Dole Packaged Foods gives employees a taste of Hawaii and the Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Every year, Dole Packaged Foods gathers its employees in the Fiesta Parade Floats barn right next to their float, and gives them a party that spans the holiday season. The event was held on Dec. 11, and was attended by both Santa Claus and the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. We dropped in for some photos, conversation, and a delicious luau, including haupia, a Hawaiian dessert. Check out the photo gallery below for snapshots of the fun.

The 2017 Dole float, “Spirit of Hawaii,” features three important and very different figures: King Kamehameha I, founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii; Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes; and Sebastian, the parrot who rode with the late Raul Rodriguez on floats he designed. In the six years Dole Packaged Foods has entered the Rose Parade, the floats have won five Sweepstakes and one Director’s Trophy. The 2017 entry is designed by Stanley Meyer. It has a working volcano and four real waterfalls flowing down the side of the mountain and cascading from a floral bridge. Dancers, including a fire dancer, and drummers will accompany the float as outwalkers and on the bridge.

We spoke about the float with Monica Spiro, Associate Manager of Events for Dole, and Dave Spare, Vice President, Marketing, about the community involvement of the company. It’s a tradition for some of the riders to be the children of Dole associates, and this year, Spiro’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna will be aboard. Spiro said the company tries to match the parade theme in the float design. The 128th Rose Parade theme is “Echoes of Success.”

“‘Spirit of Hawaii’ makes sense, since the company started in Hawaii,” she said. She brings the float theme into the party with elements that will be fun for the families, which can be seen in the photo gallery. It’s a way of sharing the Dole vision and heritage with the associates and their families. All associates are invited, and about 250 came to the luau.

“It’s really nice, because it’s a way for associates who can’t go to the parade to experience the float,” Spiro said. Another way is for associates to participate in decorating the float. Fiesta Parade Floats brings the giant plumeria, that will encircle the float like a lei, to the company headquarters in Westlake Village for associates to decorate with rice, and about 15-20 people will come to the Irwindale barn to decorate. Part of the entryway is dedicated to the float, with animal sculptures from previous floats and photos of the floats.

“It’s a way to touch, see, and feel the float,” she said. “We try to look at all the different ways people can experience this.”

Dole is also part of Live on Green, a pre-parade event with activities, displays, food, and entertainment. The company sponsors a food booth where Dole Whips can be purchased, the special treat usually available only at Disneyland. Dole has sponsored the Tiki Room for 40 years, and even reserved the room for a national meeting, where dessert was served.

“We want everyone to have a good time and have fun,” Spiro said. “There’s something for everyone.” And, she added, “Sebastian is still in front” on the float.

Dave Spare shared Dole Packaged Foods’ commitment to aiding non-profits that help people in need. The president and CEO of one of those organizations will ride on the float on Jan. 2. Food Share, the largest food bank in Ventura County, receives millions of pounds of healthy food from Dole every year, Spare said. The food is still within its expiration date and includes frozen, canned, and prepared items and 99 percent of Dole products are non-GMO.

“We were way ahead of the GMO movement,” Spare said. “On the float, all the fruit is non-GMO. It’s more expensive, but [consumers] are getting purer fruit.”

In addition to products and cash, Dole employees volunteer thousands of hours each year to charity work, including Food Share, Spare said. He volunteers at Ventura County Rescue Mission. Employees can take time off work for volunteering, so they don’t have to use vacation days.

If the company works to create  community spirit among its US employees, it helps to create a community overseas. Spare said the Dole Packaged Foods operation in the Philippines is the largest in the world, but there’s a lot of poverty in that country. Dole has built roads, schools and hospitals, and offers free medical care and free schooling. With an increase in hiring, there is a shortage of housing, so the company built 74 homes this year and plans to build 72 next year.

“The employees help to build them,” he said. “It’s like Habitat for Humanity.” Spare has worked for Dole Packaged Foods for 20 years, and he said the other vice presidents have worked 15 to 30 years. “It’s just a great company,” he said.

‘Canines with Courage’ honors dogs who save the lives of troops at war

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

I originally posted this article in 2012. I’m reposting it today, in honor of our four-legged veterans and the men and women who trained and worked them. Be sure to check out the album below.

 

Natural Balance Pet Foods is known for Rose Parade floats that push the envelope—world’s longest, world’s heaviest—with dogs who skateboard, skimboard, surf, and ski board.  The 2013 Rose Parade will see something very different from Natural Balance.

“Canines with Courage” honors military working dogs who have often gone to war and saved the lives of American troops.  The float, built by Fiesta Parade Floats, is a replica of the Military Working Dogs National Monument that will be erected at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in late 2013.  Currently the statues are touring the county, and will be on display at the post-Rose Parade Showcase of Floats.

On Friday, we caught up with a few of the riders who will be on “Canines with Courage” on Jan. 1, 2013.

Robert Harr served in the US Navy Underwater Demolition Team that was attached to the Marines—“It’s called the SEALS today,” he said—and handled the most decorated dog of World War II.  The dogs operated behind enemy lines in the Pacific Theater, sniffing out the enemy.  The operations were highly secret.  “We never knew where we were going,” Harr said.

“The dog saved 150 lives,” he said, and served on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  “His name was Rex, but after Iwo Jima and Okinawa, people started calling him ‘that Oki dog.’”  He lived to be 16 and met President Harry S. Truman at one point.  “The dog didn’t like Truman,” Harr laughed.

Robert Harr will be riding on the float with two other handlers we spoke with, Gy. Sgt. Christopher Willingham and Cpl. Juan Rodriguez (Marines).  Both handled the 2012 Hero Dog Lucca, a German Shepherd/Malinois mix.  Lucca is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Her record is spotless; no troops were lost or injured on her watch. Continue reading “‘Canines with Courage’ honors dogs who save the lives of troops at war”