UPDATE: Pasadena Museum of History is pleased to extend the Blue Star Museums program offer of free admission to active duty personnel for the new exhibition Royals of Pasadena, which opened to the public Labor Day weekend. It is on view noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Feb. 11, 2018.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
On Jan. 1, 2018, the 100th Rose Queen will ride a spectacular new float along Colorado Blvd. in the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade. In anticipation of this historic happening, Pasadena Museum of History is presenting an exhibit featuring crowns and gowns of past Rose Queens, including the one Margaret Huntley Main wore in the 1940 parade. Queen Margaret is the most senior living Rose Queen, the author of A Rose Queen Is Forever, and co-founder of the Queens Club with Sally Stanton Rubsamen.
“Royals of Pasadena,” runs from Sept. 2, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018, so folks in town for the Tournament of Roses can plan a visit to PMH. In addition to stunning gowns by William Cahill and Tadashi Shoji, jewel-encrusted crowns of the past century are on loan from the signature sponsor Tournament of Roses. Photos and ephemera documenting this Pasadena tradition will be displayed, as well as daywear, accessories, and jewelry from the Court wardrobes, on loan from former members of the Royal Court. The exhibit will explore the traditions and history of the Royal Court, from the selection process to riding on a float in the 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.
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.
Roses seem appropriate for any occasion, and never more so than in the Tournament of Roses Parade. Some float sponsors offer people an opportunity to remember a loved one by purchasing a memorial rose that is placed on their float. With the theme of the 2018 Rose Parade being “Making a Difference,” what better way to remember someone who made a difference in the lives they touched!
Each rose has a tag for the name of the honoree and a short dedication. Donate Life and Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are featured in this article, but as others come up, we will add them.
“The Gift of Time,” designed and built by Paradiso Parade Floats, is Donate Life’s entry. The float honors both organ donors and recipients. Roses can be dedicated to donors, families, recipients, and those waiting for transplants by using the online form until Dec. 20. Current donations are listed here. This will be the organization’s 15th year in the Rose Parade.
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs have sponsored floats for 66 years. The 2018 entry, “Sacrifice to Serve,” honors recipients of the Purple Heart and will feature riders who have received the medal. Prospective riders can download the 2018 Rider Application before Aug. 3. The 2018 Memorial Garden order form is not yet posted, but will be on the rose float site soon.
It’s not easy to get tickets to the Granddaddy of Them All—most are set aside for the rival teams and dignitaries—but there are some available to the general public. Seats to the 104th Rose Bowl Game go on sale on Friday, Sept 1 at 9 a.m. PT online or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-653-8000. A maximum of four tickets per person will be available during the Rose Bowl Game ticket pre-sale. Individual ticket prices start at $185 plus Ticketmaster handling fees.
The 2018 game on Jan. 1 hosts a College Football Playoff Semifinal, featuring two of the top-four teams in the country. The four teams that will play in the College Football Playoff Semifinal will be announced on Sunday, Dec. 3 via a national broadcast on ESPN. The Rose Bowl Game will host either the semifinal between the No. 1 and No. 4 teams in the nation or the No. 2 and No. 3 teams.
In addition to the Ticketmaster pre-sale, fans can also purchase official Rose Bowl Game travel and VIP Ticket and Hospitality Packages online through PrimeSport. For more information about the 2018 College Football Playoff at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual visit www.tournamentofroses.com.
There’s a special honor in store for the young woman who will be chosen as the Rose Queen for the 129th Rose Parade. She will be the 100th woman to grace the Queen’s float as it glides along Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. She will be joined by six Princesses who share in experience of representing the Tournament of Roses and the City of Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2018 and throughout the year. Applications are now available on the Royal Court webpage.
The first round of tryouts is held over two days, Saturday, Sept. 9 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday, Sept. 11 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.at Tournament House, 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena. Schools are assigned specific time slots, but if an applicant cannot be there at that time, she can come during any of the tryout hours. In the first round, each applicant has 15 seconds in front of the Queen & Court Committee to state her badge number and why she wants to be on the Royal Court. The 11-member selection committee will not ask any questions nor ask the applicant to begin speaking.
Advice from previous Court members is to be confident, be genuine, and be yourself. The Tournament suggests wearing something that feels comfortable, reflects the girl’s personality, and will make a good first impression. This column has noticed that almost all the girls wear dresses, and many wear the same dress for the entire round of interviews. Participants are selected based upon a combination of qualities, including public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement, and community and school involvement.
Be a senior in high school or enrolled as a full-time student (minimum 12 units) in any accredited school or college in the Pasadena Area Community College District (a list is on the webpage);
Possess at least a 2.0 (C) non-weighted grade point average in both the current and previous years’ course work and able to provide verification of same;
Be at least 17 years of age by Dec. 31, 2017, and not more than 21 years of age before Jan. 5, 2018, with no children;
Register and complete the official Royal Court online application;
Be available to participate in all scheduled interview sessions.
At the tryouts, former Royal Court members brief applicants on what to expect and are available to answer questions. Tours of the historic Wrigley Mansion are offered and all the applicants are gifted with a rose, photo, official Rose Parade poster, and a ticket for two to the Royal Ball, a semi-formal dance hosted by the Tournament of Roses at the Pasadena Convention Center on Sept. 22.
The court will serve from October, 2017 to October, 2018, but most of the activity happens from mid-October to the first week in January, with around 100 appearances during that time. For all the many hours they serve, the young women on the Royal Court receive both tangible and intangible benefits. They serve in a world-renowned volunteer community, develop public speaking and etiquette skills, and make lifelong friendships, as well as receive a small educational scholarship, full wardrobe for appearances, professional hairstyling, make-up application and instruction, and 50-yard-line seats at the 104th Rose Bowl Game.
The Royal Court is chosen from a field of around 900 applicants. Approximately 250 participants will be invited back for a second round of interviews; from that group, about 75 young women will be asked to participate in the third round of interviews. On Sept. 27, approximately 25 to 35 candidates will be announced as finalists. The seven-member Royal Court will be announced on Oct. 2 at Tournament House. The announcement and coronation of the Rose Queen is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 18.
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.
Usually I’m on the button side of the camera. Yesterday, I was the subject.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
It was a beautiful, move-to-California day at Tournament House yesterday, where I had the pleasure of being interviewed by composer and filmmaker Karl Preusser (behind the camera at left) for a documentary. Float is the story of how a self-built Rose Parade float gets from design to deconstruct, focusing on Burbank Tournament of Roses Association. Preusser and his wife have volunteered with BTORA for seven years, and he has recently moved up from the flower cage to learning welding. His wife served one year as decorating chair, a job that requires estimating and rounding up the botanical materials for a float.
Preusser had originally thought to do a sort of reality show, but he soon discovered that there is more camaraderie than conflict among the builders, which doesn’t make for a lot of drama. Competition for the float awards is tempered by the attitude that everyone, professional companies and self-built associations alike, have a shared goal of putting on a beautiful and entertaining parade. In many ways, the Rose Parade is still a hometown event.
Our conversation ranged over the history of the Tournament of Roses to the differences among various builders, the accommodations locals are willing to make to support the Rose Parade, and why it is such a special event. I like to talk, so it went on a couple hours, and I don’t envy Preusser the job of editing it down to a few minutes. His aim is to get the film ready to submit to the Sundance Film Festival by August. My piece was one of the last to fit in.
I don’t know that I had much original information, but I can opine on of what it is that makes the Rose Parade so exceptional, so enticing to 80 million viewers around the world and 700,000 along the parade route. When I interviewed R. Scott Jenkins, president of the 2014 Tournament of Roses, he talked about the Macy’s Parade and the huge balloons and Broadway acts. “What makes us unique in my view is floral-covered floats….That’s what puts us on the map.” I responded, “It’s that the Rose Parade has a soul.”
Self-built floats are entries that are designed and built entirely by volunteer organizations, or in the case of Cal Poly Universities, schools. Here are the six organizations that grace the Rose Parade every year: