Cake & Conversation with the Royal Court

The 2018 Tournament of Roses Royal Court at Allendale Branch Library: Princesses Lauren Buehner, Alexandra Artura, Queen Isabella Marez, Princesses Julianne Lauenstein, Sydney Pickering, Savannah Bradley.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Queen Isabella, 2018 Tournament of Roses Royal Court, listens to questions at Allendale Library.

What is it like to be on the Tournament of Roses Royal Court? Last Wednesday at Allendale Branch Library in Pasadena, people had the opportunity to find out more about how Rose Queen Isabella Marez and the Rose Princesses view their experiences since the Court was named in October, 2017. Cake and Conversation with the Royal Court has become an annual event at Allendale, and both girls and boys (and a sprinkling of men and women) were there to meet the seven young ladies who represent the TOR and City of Pasadena.

Librarian Veronica Fuentes Bernal acted as emcee, opening with a set of questions before turning it over to the audience. The responses of the young women manifested maturity, self-awareness, a deep interest in other people, and an understanding of their place in the community as ambassadors. This insight was reflected in the responses to a young girl in the front row, who asked what it is like to be on the Royal Court.

Princess Alexandra Artura replied, “It’s more of a job than you think it is, but it’s one I really enjoy.” She noted that the Royal Court represents the city, their schools, and their families.

“People don’t realize you’re not a princess yourself,” Princess Lauren Buehner said. “People want to see you for what you represent.”

Queen Isabella noted the sisterhood that the seven young women had formed, the changes they had made in the community, and making a difference in the world.

Later, Princess Julianne Lauenstein said, “The best moment was when we turned the corner from Orange Grove to Colorado and could see all the people lined up. That must indeed be an overwhelming moment; many queens and princesses throughout the years have mentioned it.

Boys and girls came to Allendale Library to hear the young women on the 2018 Royal Court.

Meeting people, from the many retirement homes they visited to talking to hospitalized children, was stated several times. Princess Savannah Bradley said she was inspired by the people she met, and disappointed that she had to stand in the hall at one of the hospitals because she had a cold. (Library assistant Terry Cannon asked about that; it turns out that with their busy schedules and fall maladies, all the girls got sick at one point or another.)

 

They mentioned celebrities like Grand Marshal Gary Sinise and the oldest living Rose Queen, Margaret Huntley Main. Queen Isabella recalled the interesting stories recounted by the residents of Monte Vista Grove Homes, a retirement community for Presbyterian church workers. The most meaningful people, however, were their fellow Court members.

One thing that all Royal Courts say is that the members have become sisters. Whether or not this is true in all cases, it is certainly true in some. “Every Court is different,” Isabella said, mentioning one that recently had a 20-year reunion. “Every experience is unique.”

Alexandra noted that members of the Court frequently get pulled out of school and away from their friends, so developing friendships on the Court is important. “I’m glad I’ve gotten to build such friendships,” she said. Savannah added that at school, you pick friends for what you have in common. On the Court, the girls are “thrown together” and find their connections. “It’s a sisterhood that will last for years.”

The young women first met each other during the four rounds of interviews prior to the Royal Court announcement. Though Lauren and Princess Sydney Pickering both attend Arcadia High School, with a student body of 3,500, the two girls had not spoken to each other prior to tryouts. Isabella mentioned that she and Julianne were numbers 469 and 470 (the participants are only known by number through the first rounds).

“She was the first girl I met,” Isabella said, but they only exchanged their high schools. “We were pretty nervous,” Julianne said. By the end, said Sydney, she and Princess Georgia Cervenka, who was in a basketball game for La Cañada High School that afternoon, were next to each other as numbers 682 and 672. “Others between us were gone. Even if we weren’t on Court, I think we’d still be friends.”

 

One of the more interesting questions the audience put to the Royal Court was “Is there a vice in yourself you would like to change?” The young women thought for a beat, and Lauren responded, “I am a bad driver. I’d like to improve.” Pretty normal for a teenager! Isabella’s answer was self-reflective. “I’d like to get closer to my spiritual self,” she said. “I grew up a Catholic.”

Overall, it was surprising to hear that for several of them, self-confidence and time management were issues, given that one thing the Queen and Court judges look for is self-confidence, and one skill they need, with school, extracurriculars, college applications, and scores of appearances, is the ability to manage a busy schedule.

The outlook and future plans of the individuals are strikingly similar. They all enjoyed the many people they met along the way, especially their new “sisters” on the Court. Most are looking for careers that serve people after college. Savannah wants to work with the disadvantaged, Julianne and Alexandra are looking towards physical therapy, Isabella wants to work in other countries as a physician’s assistant, and Lauren aspires to become a human rights attorney. Sydney hopes to study international relations and Georgia wants to go into engineering.

For more articles on the 2018 Royal Court, visit our special 2018 Royal Court page.

Keeping the Court on schedule

Bob French, the Queen and Court Committee scheduler, filled us in on the logistics of ferrying seven young ladies to 120-plus events. He keeps two calendars, one online and one in Excel, for events from the first in October to the last in March or April. Copies go to the Court, the committee, and the girls’ schools. In addition, the Queen has a few solo appearances at festivals in San Antonio, Macon, and Minneapolis.

“We don’t want them out of school every day,” he said.

The Q&C has to make sure the Royal Court gets where it’s going on time and properly dressed. Their mix-and-match wardrobes, chosen by the wives of the president and committee chair and the women on the committee, are provided by Macy’s. There are about 20 different combinations, and the girls are instructed which combination to wear to which events. They get to keep all their clothes when their term is done.

Queen Isabella

Over cake, Queen Isabella and The Rose Examiner had a short conversation. She has taken to heart the advice of Margaret Huntley Main: “Enjoy the moment. Be a sponge.”

“The Queen is like a team captain,” Isabella said. She leads the court and does more interviews and public speaking, but “otherwise we are all equal.” Like the other girls, she expressed that she had to mature a lot, and learn to present herself while still being herself. “I’ve gotten polished,” she said.

Isabella tried out for the Court because she, like Princess Savannah, was a student ambassador for the Tournament of Roses. She was also drawn to the theme “Making a Difference.” She said she approached each round with an open mind, and said when her name was called to be Queen, “I didn’t have a thought. I was so present and in the moment…. My mom says, ‘be in the moment.’

“On stage, I had nothing in my mind. [The president] called my name and everything went blank. Downstairs, I saw my parents and I just bawled.

“It was a magical night.”

When we interviewed Isabella at the announcement of the Royal Court, she mentioned being used to a softball uniform, so we asked if the fitted gown was uncomfortable. It is “very spacious,” she replied, adding that she wore sweats under it at the parade. “I wear a uniform for softball….  The dress is another uniform for my life.”

Isabella hopes to keep up with softball when she goes to college. She has applied to Drexel, Manhattan College, Sarah Lawrence, and  U Penn. Her ultimate goal? “I want to become president of the Tournament of Roses,” she said, “after I travel the world.”

Singpoli American BD ‘Rising Above’ wins Sweepstakes award at 2018 Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

With a story of transformation, the 2018 Singpoli American BD float “Rising Above” won the Sweepstakes award at the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2018. The float was designed by Charles Meier and built by Paradiso Parade Floats. It is Meier’s and Singpoli’s second Sweepstakes award, which is given for the “most beautiful entry, encompassing float design, floral presentation, and entertainment.”

The float illustrated the Legend of Fish Leaping Over the Dragon Gate, which tells of fish who swim upstream to the gate at the source of the Yellow River. The fish who leap over the gate are Continue reading “Singpoli American BD ‘Rising Above’ wins Sweepstakes award at 2018 Rose Parade”

List: 129th Tournament of Roses floats and awards

Rose Parade theme banner float for 2018 in the last stages of decoration

by Laura Berthold Monteros

All the Rose Parade floats are so beautiful and creative that we thought readers would like to know more about them all. Here’s a list of all the floats that were in the 129th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2018, along with their designers and builders, and the awards won in both 2018 and 2017. This year’s winners are in bold.

Floats that did not compete in judging are presenting sponsor American Honda Motor Company, Tournament of Roses entries (theme banner float, the two football universities, Queen & Court), and Wells Fargo. For an explanation of the new awards for 2018, read “Rose Parade trophies get an update for 2018.”

129th Rose Parade Floats

Sponsor Title Builder Designer 2018 Award 2017 Trophy
24 Hour Fitness “Proud Sponsor of Everyday Athletes” AES John Ramirez Crown City Innovation
Ag PhD TV and Radio “Salute to Farmers” AES John Ramirez Wrigley Legacy
AIDS Healthcare Foundation “Keeping the Promise” Fiesta Parade Floats Art Aguirre Lathrop K. Leishman
Amazon Prime Grand Tour “Make Your Own Momentuum” Paradiso Parade Floats Charles Meier Crown City Innovator
American Armenian Rose Float Association “Armenian Roots” Phoenix Decorating Johnny Kanounji Judges Past Presidents
American Honda Motor Company “Power of Dreams Express” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse
Burbank Tournament of Roses Association “Sand-Sational Helpers” Self-Built Catherine Glandeon, Fred Fraleigh Founder
Cal Poly Universities “Dreams Take Flight” Self-Built N/A Past President Founders’
China Airlines “Caring for Our Sea” AES John Ramirez International International
City of Alhambra, CA “Story Time” Phoenix Decorating Mike Abboud
City of Carson “Honoring the Past – Envisioning Our Future” Fiesta Parade Floats Art Aguirre
City of Hope “Transforming Our Lives with Hope” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse Isabella Coleman
City of Los Angeles “Everyone Is Welcome” Fiesta Parade Floats Mike Abboud
City of Riverside “25th Annual Festival of Lights” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Golden State
City of Torrance “Protecting Nature…The Madrona Marsh Preserve” Fiesta Parade Floats Art Aguirre Mayor Tournament Volunteers
Dole Packaged Foods “Sharing Nature’s Bounty” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Grand Marshal’s Sweepstakes
Donate Life “The Gift of Time” Paradiso Parade Floats Charles Meier Theme Theme
Downey Rose Float Association “Working Together” Self-Built Jeff Shadic, Jason Redfox, Thom Neighbors Queen Governor’s
Farmers Insurance “Red Hot Mascot. Seen it, covered it” Phoenix Decorating Dave Pittman American Grand Marshal’s
Kaiser Permanente “Inspiring Healthy Communities” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer
Kiwanis International “Racing to Serve Children” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association “Panda-monium” Self-Built Renee’ Hoss-Johnson, Brianne Johnson Bob Hope Humor Bob Hope Humor
Lions Clubs International “Preserving Our Environment” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse
Lucy Pet “Paws for Life” Fiesta Parade Floats Mike Abboud Extraordinaire
Lutheran Laymen’s League “Bringing Christ to the Nations” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse
Miracle-Gro “150 Years of Growing” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Queen’s
Northwestern Mutual “Letting Kids Be Kids” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Animation
Odd Fellows Rebekahs Rose Float “Sacrifice to Serve” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse Director
Queen & Court Fiesta Parade Floats
Rotary “Planing the Seeds of Service” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse Princess Princess’
Shriners Hospitals for Children “Caring for Kids Around the World” Phoenix Decorating Cynthia McMinimy Tournament Volunteer
Sierra Madre Rose Float Association “Chivalry!” Self-Built Joanne Garcia (concept) Fantasy Mayor’s
Singpoli American BD “Rising Above” Paradiso Parade Floats Charles Meier Sweepstakes Fantasy
South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association “Booster Club” Self-Built SPTORA Design Committee
The Forum “The Story Lives On” Phoenix Decorating
The UPS Store, Inc. “Books Bring Dreams to Life” Paradiso Parade Floats Charles Meier Extraordinaire Isabella Coleman
Theme Banner Float “Making a Difference” Phoenix Decorating
Trader Joe’s “Hats Off” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse Showmanship Tournament Special
Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DIGALERT) “Making It Safe for All” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Animation
United Sikh Mission “Serving Kindness” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse Leishman Public Spirit
Wells Fargo Closing Show “America’s New Year Celebration” Phoenix Decorating
Western Asset Management Company “Oceans of Possibility” Phoenix Decorating Michelle Lofthouse President Director’s

 

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

The Grand Marshal sees his chariot for the first time. L-R: Moira Harris, designer J. Keith White, Gary Sinise, Kathy Perini from the Tournament Entries Committee

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Rose Examiner got a tip a couple days ago that 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal Gary Sinise would be at Rosemont Pavilion on Dec. 31 to try out the fit of the 1919 Dodge Brothers car that will take him along the parade route on Jan. 1. We weren’t disappointed and neither was Sinise. He and his wife Moira Harris seemed very pleased with the gorgeous floral decoration by J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and the classic beauty of the 1919 Dodge Brothers car.

The vehicle was driven by Jimmy Stewart in the 1947 movie It’s a Wonderful Life as the George Bailey family car. It is now owned by Keith and Marilyn Smith of Johnstown, Colo. It’s fitting that it will carry Sinise, a tireless advocate for veterans, through the Rose Parade, both because Continue reading “Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride”

Conversations in the Rose Parade float barns

by Laura Berthold Monteros

We dropped into a couple float barns this week to get a look at the floats in their final stages. First was the new spacious and bright headquarters of Phoenix Decorating Company in Irwindale. Man-of-many-hats Chuck Hayes introduced us to assistant volunteer coordinator Jay DeCastro, who has worked for float companies since 1986, and Maryann Griffin who told us she “absolutely loves” being around people and ensuring they are welcome.

The next day, we went to Rosemont Pavilion in Pasadena, which has been used by many float builders over the years. This year, Paradiso Parade Floats and Cal Poly Universities drove their entries from the far east San Gabriel Valley to finish up the floral on their floats. The cars that will carry the dignitaries are being decorated there, too; more on that to come.

In the Phoenix Decorating Company barn

Laura Farber

Laura Farber, who will have her turn as president of the Tournament of Roses in 2020 greeted us by the Theme Banner float. Asked if she was preparing for the 131st Rose Parade, she said, “Yeah. That’s what we do!” She has her theme (big secret) and has a list of potential Grand Marshals (bigger secret). “We have an eight-year build-up,” she said, referring to the Tournament’s executive committee ladder, from vice president to secretary, treasurer, executive vice president, and finally president.

“The last four years go by super quickly,” she said, adding that she’s getting ready early because she is an “excessive planner.” She said it will be fun to do the job from a different perspective as the third woman president and first Latina.

“We’re trying to expand outreach to the global community…. We’re talking to people Continue reading “Conversations in the Rose Parade float barns”

Royal Court opens Pasadena CVB Visitor Hotline

2018 Royal Court: Princesses Georgia Cervenka, Sydney  Pickering, Julianne Laurenstein. Queen Isabella Marez, Princesses Alexandra Artura, Savannah Bradley, Lauren Buehner.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

In the second of nine events scheduled for Dec. 29, the Tournament of Roses Royal Court opened the phones for the Visitor Hotline. Rose Queen Isabella Marie Marez, the 100th young woman to hold that title, cut the ribbon as the six Royal Princesses, Alexandra Marie Artura, Savannah Rose Bradley, Lauren Elizabeth Buehner, Georgia Jane Cervenka, Julianne Elise Laurenstein and Sydney Grace Pickering, looked on.

The Pasadena Convention and Visitors Bureau operates the service for the last few days of December every year. Information on all Tournament events is at the fingertips of the helpful volunteers. The hotline runs through Jan. 1, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

We asked Queen Isabella how callers reacted when she identified Continue reading “Royal Court opens Pasadena CVB Visitor Hotline”

2018 Royal Court graces PMH open house event: Photo gallery

2018 Rose Princesses Julianne Lauenstein, Lauren Buehner, Georgia Cervenka, Alexandra Artura, Sydney Pickering, and Savannah Bradley at the Pasadena Museum of History Royal Court exhibit.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Cowboy hat worn by 2011 Rose Queen Drew Washington at Equestfest.

The Tournament of Roses Royal Court visited the Pasadena Museum of History last week to get a glimpse into what women on past Courts wore and collected during their reigns. The “town and gown” displays encompassed formal gowns and Mod hats, a cashmere sweater, sweatshirts, and houndstooth jacket, all manner of accessories, and photos, posters, and other memorabilia. It was a 100-year trip into the world of the women who served as ambassadors for Pasadena and the Tournament.

“The Royals of Pasadena” exhibit, which is open through Feb. 11, 2018, has a dozen display cases and scores of photos of past courts and events on the walls. The items were either donated to the museum or on loan from the Rose Queens and Princesses. Photos of all the gowns and wardrobes are in the gallery below. Be sure to check the 2018 Royal Court page for more articles, and “Crowning the Rose Parade Queens: Photo gallery” for the crowns worn by the Rose Queens.

After the Royal Court had toured the exhibit, we asked Continue reading “2018 Royal Court graces PMH open house event: Photo gallery”

Photo gallery: Tournament of Roses 2018 Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Gary Sinise and Pres. Lance Tibbet at the announcement of the 2018 Rose Parade Grand Marshal. Photo by LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros 

The pictures tell the story—Gary Sinise accepts the honor to serve as the Grand Marshal for the 129th Rose Parade and 104th Rose Bowl Game for Jan. 1, 2017 from Pres. Lance Tibbet. Sinise was chosen for his exceptional humanitarian work with veterans and first responders. He embodies the theme “Making a Difference.” For more about the ceremony, read “Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade.”

Preceding the announcement, the crowd was entertained with numbers from the World War II era played by the Fabus Four and sung by the San Andreas Sisters. The group was every bit as tight as swing era bands and had the style down to a T. Here’s their rendition of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.”  We apologize for the quality of the video!

All photos are copyrighted. Contact administrator for permissions.

Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade

Gary Sinise, Grand Marshal of the 2018 Rose Parade, shakes hand with Pres. Lance Tibbett. Photo by LB Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Media and guests were entertained by the San Andreas Sisters swing singers before the announcement, so guesses about World War II vets or actors in WWII movies, since one of the hints beforehand was about the Academy Awards, were rampant. Tournament of Roses President Lance Tibbet took the stage and dropped the typical hints—“selfless service,” “incredible humanitarian,” “embodiment of the theme,” which is “Making a Difference.”

“The Tournament is about many things,” he said, “…but mostly, it’s about people quietly doing good things.” People who put the “kind” in humankind.

As is the wont of the presidents, Tibbet slowly narrowed the field. This person cofounded a theater company that is a training ground for actors, writers, directors. Charitable and altruistic efforts Continue reading “Gary Sinise, humanitarian and actor, is Grand Marshal for 2018 Rose Parade”

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 Continue reading “Tournament of Roses crowns 100th Rose Queen Isabella: Photo gallery”