Do the Granddaddy of Them All: Rose Bowl Game tickets and how-to information for 2017

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Tickets and packages for the 103rd Rose Bowl Game on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 are on sale at PrimeSport. Since the game is a “contractual sellout,” meaning the majority of tickets are reserved for the two participating universities for their fans, tickets are hard to come by.  Other tickets are reserved for Pasadena City Council members to distribute to their constituents, and for a few members of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association and celebrities.  It’s not easy to get tickets, but it can be done.

Pasadena residents

The Tournament of Roses offers Pasadena residents age 18 and older an opportunity to purchase two tickets each for the Rose Bowl Game one day only, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2015 at 9 a.m. They are sold at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium box office, 300 E. Green Street.  No line-ups will be allowed prior to 7 a.m. Random numbered armbands are issued from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Purchasers must prove residency with a valid California driver’s license or California Identification card with a Pasadena address.  No other form of ID will be accepted.   Cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover will be accepted, but checks will not. Tickets are $162 ($150 plus $12 box office fees) each and are limited to two per person.  For More Information, Continue reading “Do the Granddaddy of Them All: Rose Bowl Game tickets and how-to information for 2017”

Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, Allyson Felix are 2017 Rose Parade Grand Marshals

The three Grand Marshals for the 2017 Rose Parade, Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, and Allyson Felix are happy to be on stage with Sam the Olympic Eagle from the 1984 Los Angeles games. The announcement took place on Nov. 3, 2016. All photos copyright 2016 Laura Berthold Monteros


by Laura Berthold Monteros

This morning at Tournament House in Pasadena, the biggest secret in town was revealed. Pres. Brad Ratliff announced that the Grand Marshals of the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade are Allyson Felix, Greg Louganis, and Janet Evans. All three are native Southern Californians who are world famous, multiple Olympic medal winners in multiple years, and world record holders. And all three serve on the LA 2024 Athletes’ Advisory Commission, ensuring that Olympians and Paralympians are involved in all aspects of the plans to bring the Olympic Games to Los Angeles in 2024.

Be sure to check out the album at the end of this article!

Ratliff, who chose the theme “Echoes of Success” for 2017, opened the ceremony by asking, “How cool is it that we’re at the house of the guy who built the World Series champion team?” Tournament House belonged to the William Wrigley family before it was donated to the City of Pasadena for use as the Tournament of Roses headquarters. He continued by rattling off numbers that can be considered indicators of success: 128 Rose Parades, 103 Rose Bowl Games, 935 volunteers and 37 staff members, 120 Grand Marshals, two of whom were puppets.

“All are successful in their own stories, even if their story is narrated by Kermit The Frog or Charlie McCarthy,” Ratliff said. He noted that it’s sometimes difficult to find a Grand Marshal who fits the theme of the year, “but not this year.” Indeed, he found three who are personally successful and whose success echoes in the many people they have inspired. Each swept through the golden curtains draping the front entryway and gave a short speech, and each mentioned that they grew up with the Rose Parade as a family tradition. Rose Queen Victoria Castellanos handed each a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses.  Continue reading “Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, Allyson Felix are 2017 Rose Parade Grand Marshals”

Building Rose Parade floats: The tools of the trade

Photo copyright 2012 Ramona Monteros


by Laura Berthold Monteros

A Tournament of Roses Parade float is the epitome of teamwork.

It starts with a sit-down discussion and ends with a unique and stunning yet ephemeral work of art.  A float for the Rose Parade is a combination of a sponsor’s idea, a designer’s concept, an engineer’s calculations, a mechanic’s skill. When they are done, artists in metal, wood, sculpture, paint, and floral design bring in their talents.

Sponsors may have a detailed idea of what they would like on a float, or no idea at all. It’s the job of the float builder and designer to create a concept that will not only be stunningly beautiful or charmingly whimsical, but will work. Considerations include reflecting the theme of the parade, presenting the message of the sponsor in the few seconds a float passes by viewers, weight, height, whether or not there will be animation, and cost. Engineers design systems and mechanics design the engine that will get the float from the barn to post-parade and back.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this article!

Metalworkers bend rods and weld them into skeletal sculptures. Screeners put the skin on the skeletons.  Wooden components are built. The float is then sprayed with a fabric cocooning material and foam, which is sculpted into shape. Small sculpted details such as hands are also added. In a sort of paint-by-numbers scheme, areas are lined out and the names of the colors penciled in to match the artist’s rendering. The float is painted and the floral designer, Continue reading “Building Rose Parade floats: The tools of the trade”

Want to put flowers on a Rose Parade float? Here are some tips

decoratingby Laura Berthold Monteros

Building a Rose Parade float is an expensive process for sponsors, and would not be affordable without volunteers who dedicate from a few to scores of hours working on them—volunteers who do not mind getting glue in their hair, cramped fingers from snipping strawflowers, or ruining an old pair of jeans.  Some volunteers even give up holiday shopping on weekends in December to prepare and glue dry materials.

Every inch of the float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds, grass, bark, sod, or even fruits and vegetables for it to be eligible for a trophy. Volunteers take a great deal of pride in their work and thrill at seeing the float they pasted mums and gerbera on go down the parade route.  Generally, dry decoration takes place on Saturdays in December and fresh materials go on during Deco Week between Christmas and Dec. 31, when the floats are judged.

Readers who are interested in volunteering should check on the websites of the float builders to see if there are still open slots.  Many are already booked up, but sometimes they need extra help for the big push.  Prospective volunteers can also show up at the decorating site and ask; however, there is no guarantee that a builder will take drop-ins and keep in mind they are very busy during Deco Week. Continue reading “Want to put flowers on a Rose Parade float? Here are some tips”

Make a real difference for the homeless with Real Change meters

real-changePasadena drivers are used to feeding the meter to secure a parking place, but now people—pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike—can feed a meter and help end homelessness.  The Real Change Movement puts bright orange meters decorated with yellow happy faces in public places which collect change and credit transactions to provide homes for the homeless in Pasadena. Pasadena and homeless advocates throughout the city have been encouraging people not to give money to panhandlers, but to support local non-profits that provide real assistance instead.  Real Change meters make it easy. There’s a map app on the website to find the one closest to you.

The Real Change Movement was the first initiative of its kind within Los Angeles County.  It includes a public outreach campaign that tells residents, merchants and visitors about the movement and raises awareness about homelessness. The movement is a collaborative effort involving the City of Pasadena, Flintridge Center, County of Los Angeles, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, East West Bank, IPS Group, Pasadena City College, Art Center College of Design, and Pasadena Chamber of Commerce.

Art Center students were involved with the project from the beginning.  They came up with the idea and campaign strategy and designed the logo and color scheme.  The Pasadena In Focus newsletter for July and August, 2014 reported, “The students wanted to inspire the community to think about happiness in a more socially active way and to view the act of giving as an uplifting, positive experience.”


A joyful coronation of the 99th Tournament of Roses Queen Victoria Castellanos

The 2017 Tournament of Roses Royal Court: Princesses Shannon, Natalie, and Maya; Queen Victoria; Princesses Audrey, Autumn, and Emi. c.2016 LB Monteros
The 2017 Tournament of Roses Royal Court: Princesses Shannon, Natalie, and Maya; Queen Victoria; Princesses Audrey, Autumn, and Emi. c.2016 LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

There could hardly be a Rose Queen with a more expressive face than Tori Castellanos. The shock and tears when her name was read as 99th Tournament of Roses Queen on Thursday evening, the huge smile when the she received the crown and roses, the seriousness displayed as she repeated the Queen’s Oath were spontaneous and heartfelt. That ability to quickly switch between joy and seriousness, to show her emotions on her face, is quite charming. With family, friends, schoolmates and teachers on hand to cheer, the celebration was truly a joyous event. Here’s how it happened.

Back to the beginning

An air of excitement and anticipation rippled over the patio on Oct. 20 as people waited for the doors of the historic Pasadena Playhouse to open for the announcement and coronation of the young woman who will reign over the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 2, 2017. The seven members of the Royal Court were escorted down the red carpet into the auditorium by white-suited members of the Queen & Court Committee. And then, the doors swung open. Let’s enter that door as if we didn’t know yet that Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos received the Mikimoto pearl crown.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this article. It tells a lot of the story, and at the end, just for fun, there are a few shots of Tori in performances with Temple City High School.

Continue reading “A joyful coronation of the 99th Tournament of Roses Queen Victoria Castellanos”

1940 Rose Queen Margaret Huntley Main shines at the coronation of the 2017 Queen of the Tournament of Roses

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Chip Rubsamen, son of 1941 Queen Sally Stanton Rubsamen who cofounded the Queens Club with Main, escorted Queen Margaret to the coronation on Oct. 20.
Chip Rubsamen, son of 1941 Queen Sally Stanton Rubsamen who cofounded the Queens Club with Main, escorted Queen Margaret to the coronation on Oct. 20.

A Rose Queen Is Forever, Margaret Huntley Main wrote, and she is living proof that is true. The oldest living Rose Queen at age 95, she is still regal and still utterly in control of her surroundings. Main founded the Queen’s Club with fellow Rose Queen Sally Stanton Rubsamen, who passed away in April. She made a commanding appearance at the coronation of the 2017 Rose Queen, Victoria “Tori” Castellanos, on Oct. 20.

This was not Main’s first time on the stage at the Pasadena Playhouse. At age 14, she accepted the award for the best one-act middle school play. She told how the stagehands had dressed her as an elderly lady with a cane before she came onstage. “And here I am,” she said, “an elderly woman with a cane!”

She and Rubsamen founded the Queen’s Club in 1949 to welcome new Tournament of Roses queens and support former queens. In the past, the young women were simply dropped after the last seconds of the Rose Bowl Game, and it could take a toll on them. She stresses that the Tournament is better now, and has things for the Royal Court to do after the big celebration is over. But for much of its history, that was not the case.

“I watched former queens get sick,” Main said. She reminisced about her Rose Parade, the 51st. “It rained,” she said. The Tournament gave the girls cellophane rain bonnets to wear, but long about East Pasadena, she said, “the crowd yelled, ‘Take ‘em off!’” and they did. “1940 was the best parade of all!” she said. The enthusiasm of the crowd “just washes over you and forgives all your sins.”

Asked what advice she would give to her fellow Rose Queens, she replied, “Never give advice unless it’s asked.” She added tidbist on representing the Tournament and the city, queenly decorum, and getting help from former queens. “There’s no bill,” she smiled. And finally, “Never, never go running down the streets of Pasadena with two runny-nosed toddlers.”


All photos except archival copyright Laura Berthold Monteros


Victoria “Tori” Castellanos from Temple City HS is the 99th Rose Queen

Rose Queen Victoria is crowned by Pres. Brad Ratliff.
Rose Queen Victoria is crowned by Pres. Brad Ratliff.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

This is a moment that Tournament of Roses fans anticipate from the first Tournament of Roses Royal Court tryouts in September to the evening in October when the Rose Queen is announced and crowned in the splendor of Mikimoto pearls. Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos was chosen by the Queen and Court committee for an honor that only 98 women have held before. Possessing the poise of a Rose Queen, when her name was announced, she almost cried, but not quite.

Tonight’s coronation was a celebration of the 2017 theme “Echoes of Success” as well as the 2017 Royal Court, who will ride down Colorado Blvd. on Jan. 2, 2017. Queen Victoria is one of 771 people who tried out for the 2017 Royal Court, and one of seven young ladies who made it. She attends Temple City High School and is active in Brighterside Singers and musical theater. It was an exciting evening, and we will write more details tomorrow, along with my brief interview with Tori and a photo gallery of the people and event, For tonight, though, we’ll put it to be with a hearty congratulations to the 99th Rose Queen.


What are the Rose Parade float trophies and who gets them?

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Isabella Coleman Trophy at Tournament House. Photo copyright 2011 by LB Monteros.
Isabella Coleman Trophy at Tournament House. Photo copyright 2011 by LB Monteros.

By the time the spectacular floats begin rolling along Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena on New Year’s morning, they have been through a rigorous judging process.  Every inch of the float must be covered with some sort of botanical material—flowers, petals, seeds, bark, grass, fruit, beans, rice, and just about anything the float designers can imagine.

The Tournament of Roses awards trophies in 24 different categories for the outstanding entries in the Rose Parade.  A panel of three judges examines the floats twice during the decorating stage and once a few hours before the New Year.  One of the judges represents the floral industry; the others may be from different but related fields. Scores are based on criteria such as creative design, floral craftsmanship, artistic merit, computerized animation, thematic interpretation, floral and color presentation, and dramatic impact.  Scores from each session are combined to determine winners.

It’s sometimes a scramble for the decorators to get finished and ensure all the animation and mechanics are working by the deadline, but a missed deadline means a missed opportunity for a prestigious award. That’s a rare occurrence, and not something a builder wants to tell a sponsor.

Here are the titles and descriptions of the Rose Parade float awards.  Keep this list on hand as you watch the parade on television or along the route, and return to this space after the parade to find out which floats and builders won!

Animation: Best animation and motion
Bob Hope Humor: Most comical and amusing
Craftsman: Exceptional showmanship and dramatic impact – over 55’ only
Crown City Innovation: Best use of imagination and innovation to advance the art of float design
Director’s honoring Jacob Maarse: Outstanding artistic merit in design and floral presentation
Extraordinaire: Most spectacular, including floats over 55’
Fantasy: Most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination
Founders’: Most spectacular built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization
Governor’s: Best depiction of life in California
Grand Marshal’s: Excellence in creative concept and design
International: Most beautiful entry from outside the continental US
Isabella Coleman: Best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use
Judge’s Special: Most spectacular in showmanship and dramatic impact
Lathrop K. Leishman: Most beautiful non-commercial
Mayor’s: Most outstanding city entry – national or international
National: Best depiction of life in the USA, past, present or future
Past Presidents’: Most creative use of floral and non-floral
President’s: Most effective floral use and presentation
Princess’: Most beautiful 35’ or under
Queen’s: Most effective use and display of roses in concept, design, and presentation
Sweepstakes: Most beautiful entry with outstanding floral presentation and design
Theme: Excellence in presenting parade theme
Tournament Special: Exceptional merit in multiple categories, including floats over 55’
Tournament Volunteers: Best floral design of theme 35’ or under


Live on Green is back! with the USAF, LA Rams, fun, and entertainment

USAF Color Guard at Live on Green 2015. c.LBM2015
USAF Color Guard at Live on Green 2015. c.LBM2015

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Last year’s debut Live on Green event entertained more than 30,000 people in the days before the Rose Parade. It’s back, bigger and more spectacular for 2016, with the largest display ever of Air Force equipment, technology, and memorabilia under one roof. The occasion is the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force. The centerpiece will be the latest stealth aircraft, the F-35A, which just started operation in August. The plane will be dismantled and boxed up, to be reassembled in the Pasadena Convention Center. It will be accompanied by an F-16 jet.

For two great videos about the F-35A, watch this from LockheedMartin and this from Fox.

Live on Green is a free family festival held at the Pasadena Convention Center complex, 300 E. Green St. on Dec. 30 and 31, 2016 (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Jan. 1, 2017 (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). The 128th Tournament of Roses is on Monday, Jan. 2 due to the “Never on Sunday” rule. It’s a fun place for locals and out-of-towners to find entertainment, activities, information, and good food at a decent price. It’s put together by Huerta Quorum (HQ) with support from commercial sponsors.

Barbara Cocks, president of HQ, told The Rose Examiner that the free event is “the result of great sponsors.” These include Dole Packaged Foods, Continue reading “Live on Green is back! with the USAF, LA Rams, fun, and entertainment”