Photo: Sierra Madre float barn displays name signs from award-winning floats
Updated April 30, 2019 to add Sierra Madre Rose Float Association
by Laura Berthold Monteros
When the six self-built float organizations meet for the annual get-together and potluck, the talk isn’t of beating the others out for Rose Parade trophies. It’s a time to reveal designs for floats in the upcoming Rose Parade that have been approved by the Tournament of Roses, as well as a place for camaraderie among a rare breed of peopl who still build their own flower-covered floats to represent their communities. Ideas, techniques, and food—plenty of it and all delicious—are shared.
The Rose Examiner attended last Saturday’s event, hosted by Sierra Madre Rose Float Association in their float barn in Sierra Vista Park. All six associations had representatives there: Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, Cal Poly Universities Rose Float, Downey Rose Float Association, La Cañada Flintridge Rose Float Association, South Pasadena Rose Float Association, and of course Sierra Madre. The Cal Poly team was represented by alumni, because it was the weekend for students from both Pomona and San Luis Obispo to get together and plan for the parade.
The theme for the 131st Tournament of Roses is “The Power of Hope.” Each float entry must reflect that in some way. The designs, chosen from among scores of submissions, are presented to the Tournament of Roses for approval on theme draft day in February.
Self-built floats are usually humorous, though Downey often creates scenes simply for the beauty, such as 2016’s “Exploring the Everglades.” The 2020 float, “Wings of Hope,” features orgami cranes flying over a Japanese garden. The concept was inspired by a project at East Middle School that, like the students in Sadako and the Thousand Cranes, had a goal of folding 1,000 paper cranes to be given to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
Burbank also has a more serious theme this year. “Rise Up” depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes, a reminder of the fires that tore through areas of Northern California last year. President Ginny Barnett said she had friends in the almost completely destroyed city of Paradise. The phoenix represents the hope those caught up in the fires have for the future. She said this design is unusual for a Burbank float, which is usually about fun.
The 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage will be honored by South Pasadena with “Victory at Last.” The victory was the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. A gigantic straw hat decorated with feathers, flowers, and a campaign button dominates the float in a star-spangled celebration of a watershed event in American history.
“We’re trying to be as non-political as possible,” the presenter said. The Rose Examiner hopes that votes for women is no longer a political issue!
La Cañada Flintridge, whose floats are always highly animated, went to the birds with “Dodo Bird Flight School.” Penguins and an emu are also enrolled, but it’s doubtful they will have much success launching off the giant blimp. The emu, strapped to a da Vinci screw on a satellite float, may have the best shot.
Sierra Madre had a model of their float, “Ka La Hiki Ola” (The Dawning of a New Day) on display and will produce the rendering later. There will be a waterfall at the rear, and lots of tikis, and birds rising off the float.
The design draft for Cal Poly Universities was not yet ready, but we look forward to seeing it in the future. Visit All Things Rose Parade on Facebook to get updates on the Tournament of Roses.
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Opening show at 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade. Photo copyright LB Monteros.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The 131st Tournament of Roses Parade steps off on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, but readers can start making plans now. With a theme of “The Power of Hope,” there will be plenty of inspiration to begin a New Year. In our recent conversation, Pres. Laura Farber emphasized increasing florals and promised the Rose Parade “will not be Macy’s.”
Here’s the information needed to get a place in the grandstands for you, and a place in a lot for your car.
We’ll be posting information on all the Tournament of Roses events and how to do them between now and December. Subscribe to TheRoseExaminer by filling in the box in the upper left to get email notifications.
The official grandstand seating provider for the Rose Parade is Sharp Seating Company. Sharp sells tickets in person, over the phone at (626) 795-0896, via email, or online for the parade, parking, and other events. The sales office is located at 737 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena; enter from the rear parking lot off Meridith Ave. Grandstand seats and parking are also available beginning in the summer at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, on the northwest corner of Colorado Blvd. and Madison Ave., (626) 793-2191.
Prices at Sharp Seating range from $60 to $110, depending on the location on the route. Seats on the north and west, or “off-camera,” sides of the route are generally less expensive. Portable restrooms for Sharp patrons are located behind the grandstands. Pasadena Presbyterian Church offers indoor restrooms and a continental breakfast included in the price.
Rose Parade programs can be ordered in advance from Sharp Seating, the Pasadena Museum of History gift shop and the Tournament of Roses, or purchased on parade day from Pasadena Presbyterian Church and vendors on the route. Various supermarkets and drugstores in the area also sell programs few weeks before the parade.
Reserved parking is available from Sharp Seating, Easy Parking Service (626) 286-7576, and the City of Pasadena (626) 744-6470. Easy Parking Service provides free shuttles to the Rose Bowl from the parking lot. Overnight RV parking is also available. Other lots can be found through a Google search. Closer to parade time, some merchants list reserved parking on Craigslist.
“The Power of Hope” is the theme for the 2020 Tournament of Roses. The central events, the 131st Rose Parade and 106th Rose Bowl Game, are held on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Subscribe to “The Rose Examiner” to get news and articles throughout the year.
There are days of events preceding and following the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. Pre-parade float decorating and post-parade Showcase of Floats, Bandfest, and Equestfest add to the excitement of America’s New Year Celebration. While tickets can be purchased at most venues, it’s easy to buy them in advance from Sharp Seating Company. Tickets can be purchased online, over the phone at (626) 795-4171, and in person at 737 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena (enter in the rear parking lot off Meridith Ave.). Children ages five and under are free at all events except Equestfest VIP seating.
Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing) presented by Giti Tires, Dec. 28-31, 2019, $15 Deco Week is second only the Rose Parade in the excitement it generates in Pasadena. Floats in the final stages of decoration are on view for visitors to see how thousands of volunteers hustle to get every last seed or flower on the floats in preparation for final judging. The ticket price depends on the day of attendance. Times vary by day; check the website for details.
Bandfest presented by Remo, $15 per performance, Dec. 29, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. and Dec. 30 at 9:30 a.m. & 2 p.m.
In addition to marching six miles in the Rose Parade, the bands put on field shows at Pasadena City College in the days before the parade. There are three shows with different bands performing at each; the schedule will be released later in the year. These shows often sell out before the event, so make sure to order tickets ahead of time. Each show requires separate admission.
Equestfest presented by Wells Fargo, Dec. 29, 2019 at noon (venue opens at 10 a.m.), $15
Horse lovers get the opportunity to see the equestrian units perform in the Los Angeles Equestrian Center arena before they ride in the Rose Parade. Trick riding and reenactments are part of the fun. Merchandise and food are on sale at the venue and the horses can be viewed in the warm-up ring and stables. Parking costs $10 (paid at the venue) and is on an unpaved field or across the street for overflow. Early arrival is recommended to ensure parking inside the venue.
Equestfest Limited VIP Reserved Seating Package, $40
Included in this package are a preferred reserved seat, early VIP entrance, an official souvenir seat cushion, a goody bag with other surprises. For this package, guests of all ages require a paid ticket
Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats, Jan. 1, 2020 from 1-5 p.m. and Jan. 2, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., $15 See the floats in all their glory, but standing still! Ticket price includes Park-N-Ride shuttles from two locations in Pasadena. Senior citizens and the handicapped can enter as early as 7 a.m. on Jan. 2. White Suiters and builders are on hand to offer details about the floats and flowering, and the animation on the floats is often running. There are food and merchandise vendors onsite and free water from the City of Pasadena. Ticket booths will sell admission tickets at Park-N-Ride locations and at the venue on Sierra Madre Blvd. Ticket sales end at 3 p.m. both days.
Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Dec. 31, 2019, 12:30-2 p.m., $40
Enjoy a luncheon with the inductees into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2019. It’s held at the Rose Bowl Stadium in the Lot K Tent “The Power of Hope” is the theme for the 2020 Tournament of Roses. The central events, the 131st Rose Parade and 106th Rose Bowl Game, are held on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. Subscribe to “The Rose Examiner” to get news and articles throughout the year.
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band 2019. Copyright LB Monteros
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The 20 marching bands from around the globe that will make the 5.5 mile trek in the 131st Rose Parade were announced by the Tournament of Roses today. The bands will also do field shows at one of the three Bandfest shows on Dec. 29 and 30, 2019 at Pasadena City College. In addition to these 20 units, the bands of the universities chosen to play in the Rose Bowl Game will march. The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game take place on Jan. 1, 2020.
Four bands have a standing invitation to the Rose Parade: Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band, Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band, and of course, Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band. The adjunct PCC Herald Trumpets announce the Royal Court float.
To be considered for the parade, there is a rigorous audition process, which includes musicianship, marching ability and entertainment or special interest value. Band representatives must submit detailed applications, which include photos, video footage and letters of recommendation. They also must be able to raise all necessary funds for travel and accommodations. Bands can apply for the 2021 Rose Parade on the Tournament of Roses website.
Tickets to Bandfest are available at Sharp Seating for $15 per show. Children under age 5 are free. Other than the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band, which hosts the event, each unit performs in only one of the three shows. The order will be announced later in the year.
The marching bands performing in the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade are
Alhambra Unified School District Marching Band, Alhambra, Calif.
Baldwinsville Marching Bees, Baldwinsville, N.Y.
Banda El Salvador: Grande Como Su Gente, El Salvador
Banda Municipal de Zarcero, Alajuela, Costa Rica
Centro Escolar Niños Heroes De Chapultepec, Puebla, Mexico
Centenaria Banda Colegial – University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Dobyns-Bennett High School, Kingsport, Tenn.
Greendale High School Marching Band, Greendale, Wis.
Helsingør Pigegarde, Hornbaek, Denmark
Japan Honor Green Band, Kyoto, Japan
Kamehameha Performing Arts Ensemble, Honolulu, Hawaii
Los Angeles Unified School District All District Honor Band, Los Angeles, Calif.
The PRIDE of Owasso, Owasso, Okla.
The Pride of Pearland Marching Band, Pearland, Texas
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band, Pasadena, Calif.
Rancho Verde Crimson Regiment, Moreno Valley, Calif.
Southern University “Human Jukebox” Marching Band, Baton Rouge, La.
Tournament of Roses Salvation Army Band, Pasadena, Calif.
United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band, San Diego, Calif.
West Harrison Hurricane Band, The Pride of South Mississippi, Gulfport, Miss.
Every new president of the Tournament of Roses is enthusiastic when talking about his or her parade, but it would be hard to beat the outright energy and joy of Laura Farber. Even when presented with concerns about the future““““` from long-time parade fans, she maintained her exuberance.
Farber took the helm of the 2020 Tournament of Roses on Jan. 17. She brings her personal vision to the 131st Rose Parade, 106th Rose Bowl Game, and all the attendant events that draw hundreds of thousands of people to the Pasadena area to share in America’s New Year Celebration. She is enthusiastic about new developments in the celebration, but loves the traditions, as well.
“I think that we have to respect tradition, but balance it with innovation,” she said. “We strive in everything we do” to strike that balance.
To that end, in addition to the longstanding committees, the Tournament now has a social media committee, an innovation team, and the brand new Festival Committee to plan and implement events.
“We want to enhance our demographic,” she said, with events that will “attract my kids.” She noted that television is being replaced by streaming for the younger demos. The Funny or Die live stream of the Rose Parade with Will Farrell and Molly Shannon was very successful, she said. It incorporated live chat to engage watchers.
It won’t be Macy’s
A concern that has often been expressed to The Rose Examiner is that increased emphasis on entertainment may lead to a parade that emulates the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
“Have no fear. We will not be Macy’s,” Farber insisted. “Macy’s and the Rose Parade are the most diametrically opposed [parades] I have ever seen.” The Macy’s entertainment is for the cameras, and then the floats come, she said. There is a single broadcaster, who can control every element., whereas the Rose Parade has several broadcasters.
“It’s apples and oranges…. We have no desire to turn into Macy’s.”
“We don’t want the parade of 20 years ago,” she said, but “for traditionalists—we have something for you. It’s your Rose Parade.”
Entertainment or floats?
Something longtime fans will appreciate is how often Farber mentioned florals for floats. “Increase those florals,” she stated several times. Dry materials have distinct uses, but she said, “I’d like to see more floral and less seeds.” She would be “thrilled” to have more floral elements, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be entertainment.
“I do believe in having interactive floats and entertainment. It’s just how it comes together.” She mentioned Earth, Wind and Fire atop the 2018 Forum float, who brought parade-goers to their feet. “They made people happy. People were jumping up and down.” Pauses in the parade for performances are few and are carefully considered, she noted. They are factored into the time frame for the parade, which is two hours on the dot for broadcast.
Speaking of floats…
One event locals and visitors have looked forward to for decades is visiting the float barns during Deco Week, the last few days before the Rose Parade. The floats are in the final stages of flowering at that point, and the volunteers are scurrying around to get finished in time for judging. With no float barns left in Pasadena since Phoenix Decorating company joined the other two commercial builders, Fiesta Parade Floats and AES 15 miles to the east, Deco Week has been scaled down.
For the 2019 parade, AES moved its floats to Rosemont Pavilion, the float barn in the Rose Bowl area, along with Cal Poly Universities and FTD decorated cars. Some viewers expressed disappointment in the limited offerings for the $15 admission price. We asked if having shuttles to the other float barns might help.
Farber said that the Tournament is going to look at shuttles, but can’t make promises. They are also trying to make Rosemont more of an event. This year, AES put on Sip & Savor, a tasting event, next to the barn.
“It’s a good deal, pay for the floats and get admission to Sip & Savor. It was packed, the vendors were happy,” she said. The feedback was good, she said, and there were activities for children, as well. (Sampling tickets were about $2.50 each.)
The Power of Hope
Farber was surprised to learn that the word “hope” had never been used in a Tournament of Roses theme before she chose “The Power of Hope” for the 2020 celebration. It is a word that has deep meaning for her, and runs throughout her life.
Farber’s parents came to the States with her when she was a young girl. They were students in Argentina during the time of the “Dirty War.” There was a lack of stability, she said, and students were the most vocal critics of the military government. Civil rights were abrogated.
“It was not a place where you felt comfortable that you could stay,” she said. One of her parents’ professors knew someone at University of California Santa Barbara, and her family was able to immigrate. Her parents, both biochemists, found a place at UCSB.
“It takes a lot to leave everything and everyone you know,” she said.
Her husband, Tomás Lopez, had similar experiences. His family came to New York from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The US offered hope, opportunity, the ability to make a new life.
“That kind of motivated this theme. It’s a unifying theme at a time when we need to be unified,” she said. The New Year is a “time to turn over a new leaf.” Hope is life, she shared. It’s respect, joy, happiness. It’s inspirational, motivational, and aspirational.
“Nobody can ever take it away. There’s something powerful about it,” she said. “The Power of Hope.”
Telling other stories
Farber was animated when the subject of marching bands came up. There are more bands from Latin America than ever before, an all-female band from Copenhagen that she is excited about, and many first-year bands.
She rattled of some of the names: West Harrison High School, Miss., which was founded after Hurricane Katrina; Southern University, Baton Rouge, La.; the rare band from upstate New York; from Houston, Texas, Pearland High School, which served as a shelter during Hurricane Harvey; units from Greendale, Wis. and Alhambra, Calif.; and a Moreno Valley, Calif. Title I high school.
The Music Committee hosts a music night to show the videos of applicant bands 18 months prior to the parade. The videos present the music and the story that each unit has to tell.
“The quality is off the charts,” Farber said, referencing both the performances and the stories.
Part of the community
Farber is proud that the Tournament of Roses Association is part of the Pasadena community year-round, not just for a few days before and after Jan. 1. Farber reads books to elementary school students and will participate in the Black History and Latino Heritage parades. The Association and Tournament of Roses Foundation support local public schools with money, volunteers, and events.
“The Power of Hope” applies to the game as well, Farber said. The Rose Bowl Game Keith Jackson Postgraduate Scholarship awards $10,000 each to one student from the Big Ten Conference and one student from the Pac-12 Conference. The students do not have to be on the football players. They will shadow the Rose Bowl Game staff and will be presented with their award at Lawry’s Beef Bowl.
The weather report
It’s always sunny for the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game, except when it isn’t. But for the previous 130 parades, it has only rained on 10 parades. There are certain superstitions that go along with that—never have a parade on Sunday, don’t ask a Supreme Court Justice to be the Grand Marshal, and don’t choose a theme with any reference to water—but there seems to be only one person responsible.
“The Executive VP is in charge of weather,” Farber informed us. The Executive Vice President becomes the President for the following year. She told 2019 Pres. Gerald Freeny that she gave him a good parade, and it seems she expects 2021 Pres. Robert Miller to provide lovely weather for hers.
Ultimately, Laura Farber hopes that the 131st Tournament of Roses, with the parade, game, and many events, will bring the “joy and happiness of the New Year. We are ‘America’s New Year Celebration.’”
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association on Jan. 17, 2019 announced the election of Laura Farber as the president of the 2020 Tournament. Farber is the firsrt Latina hold the office. She will oversee the 131st Rose Parade and the 106th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2010. The president drives the vision for all the events in a cycle, centered around the chosen theme.
“The Power of Hope,” a theme chosen by Farber and her husband Tomás Lopez, was selected to encourage creativity in the entries, including floats, bands, and equestrians.
“With hope – anything, in fact, everything is possible,” Farber said. “Hope is more than simply the possibility of fulfillment. Hope is dignity and respect, joy and happiness, aspiration and achievement. Hope never, ever quits. Through hope, we can aspire to be our best and in turn inspire those around us to reach higher.”
Farber was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She and Lopez have two children, Christopher and Jessica. Her hobbies include music, tennis, and reading. She earned her bachelor’s degree, cum laude, with departmental highest honors, in 1987 from University of California, Los Angeles and her juris doctor, cum laude, in 1990 from Georgetown University.
Farber has a long list of credentials, academically, in business, and with the Tournament and other volunteer organizations. She has been a white suiter since 1993 and was elected to the Executive Committee in 2012. Committees that she has served include Decorating Places, Formation Area, Judging, and Membership Development.
A resident of South Pasadena, she has been on the site council for Marengo Elementary School and an officer of the South Pasadena Middle School Booster Club. She has also been on the Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Advisory Board, Rose Bowl Legacy Foundation Museum Committee, and the board of directors of the non-profit Clazzical Notes and the YWCA.
Farber is a partner in the Pasadena law firm of Hahn & Hahn, practicing civil litigation; a member of the American Bar Association, serving as the State Delegate for California in the House of Delegates; chair of the Latin America and Caribbean Initiative Council; a member of the Rule of Law Initiative Board and member of the Steering Committee of the Nominating Committee. She is a former member of the Board of Governors representing the State of California and past chair of the Young Lawyers Division, and has served as President of the Barristers, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s young lawyers division.