Tournament of Roses

AARFA releases 2018 float design

American Armenian 2018 Rose Parade float

from a press release

Los Angeles, May 24, 2017 – The American Armenian Rose Float Association (AARFA) has released the design for the next Armenian rose float, which will take part in the 129th Pasadena Tournament of Roses, on January 1, 2018. This will be the Armenian rose float’s fourth consecutive participation in the world-renowned tournament.

Carrying the theme “Armenian Roots,” the new Armenian rose float will be dedicated to Armenian mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers, as individuals who are the foundation of acts of kindness that enrich the lives of others; who are a source of inspiration, hope, joy, and optimism; and whose unconditional love contributes to the greatness of their communities and nation.

The theme of the Armenian rose float echoes the general theme of the 129th Pasadena Tournament of Roses, which “Making a Difference.” As described by Lance Tibbet, president of the 2017-2018 Tournament of Roses, “ The ‘Making a Difference’ theme is a way to honor and celebrate all of the people in our communities who, quietly and without desire for reward or recognition, act in selfless, generous, and kind ways to aid or benefit others.”

The design of the new Armenian rose float was conceived by AARFA Board member Johnny Kanounji. The centerpiece consists of the bust of a young woman dressed in traditional Armenian garments and headgear and tending a young pomegranate tree. The elements in the back and front of the imposing centerpiece comprise a colorful pastiche of Armenian motifs, including Armenian carpets and pomegranates. While some of the patterns of the carpets are nods to ancient Armenian architecture and heraldry, their background colors are also rich in symbology. The green, for instance, symbolizes hope, renewal, life, and spring; and red symbolizes beauty, wealth, courage, joy, and faith.

On New Year’s Day, 2018, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses will be seen by about 700,000 spectators in Pasadena and a global audience in 245 countries and territories.

As in previous years, some 600 community volunteers will work on the floral assembly of the 2018 Armenian rose float. Given the considerable cost of materials and construction of the float, the AARFA is appealing for generous grassroots community support. Tax-deductible donations can be made online at or sent to the following address: American Armenian Rose Float Association, P.O. Box 60005, Pasadena, CA 91116.


Tournament of Roses announces 2018 leadership; Mark Leavens to be 2025 president

Mark Leavens, courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses
Mark Leavens, courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses

PASADENA, Calif. (Jan. 19, 2017) – This evening, the 2018 Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet announced the leadership and organizational structure for the 2017-2018 Tournament of Roses. Mark Leavens, a Tournament volunteer since 1995, was elected to the Executive Committee and will serve as the Tournament of Roses President in 2025. He will provide leadership for the 136th Rose Parade® and the 111th Rose Bowl Game® on January 1, 2025.

Mark Leavens was appointed a Tournament of Roses Chair in 2010 and a Director in 2013. He has served on and chaired various committees including Communications & Credentials, Float Entries, Formation Area, Music, Parade Operations and Queen & Court.

Professionally, Mark Leavens has been employed with Nestle USA since 1989 and has held various management roles in Marketing Communications, Promotions, Events, and currently in Shopper Marketing. In addition to his many years of service in the Tournament of Roses, Mark Leavens has coached YMCA basketball and AYSO soccer, Chaired the Nestle United Way Campaign and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Pasadena Optimist Club.

Mark Leavens is a resident of Pasadena. He grew up in Monrovia and attended Damien High School in La Verne. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Claremont McKenna College and received his Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Redlands.

Mark has been married for 29 years to Kay, a Realtor at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in San Marino. They have three adult children; Katie, who lives in Pasadena and works at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in Los Angeles, Ken, who lives in Santa Cruz and works at West Marine headquarters in Watsonville, CA, and Melissa, a junior majoring in Sociology at TCU (Texas Christian University) in Fort Worth, TX.

In addition, the following officers were elected to serve with Mark Leavens on the 14-member Executive Committee: Gerald K. Freeny, executive vice president; Laura Farber, treasurer; Robert B. Miller, secretary. Brad Ratliff, president of the 2017 Tournament of Roses, serves as past president.

Re-elected to the Executive Committee as vice presidents are Amy Wainscott, Alex Aghajanian and Ed Morales. The five appointed at-large members are, Zareh Baghdassarian, Leo Cablayan, Janet Makonda, Ron Rodriguez and Sonja Rojas. Tibbet also announced the election of two new members to the Tournament of Roses board of directors: Jim Ciampa and Steve Perry

American Honda supports launch of new Rose Bowl Educational Program with PUSD

The Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation, the Stadium’s 501c3 non-profit organization, and the Pasadena Unified School District, launched a new educational program this past Tuesday, October 4th, the Honda Field Trip to the Field. This new program will allow all seventh grade students in the district to visit America’s Stadium in a structured, scholastic format throughout the school year. The program is funded by American Honda, which is the presenting sponsor of the Rose Parade. Read more here.




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