Visiting the float barns during 2019 Rose Parade Deco Week

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Rose Examiner dropped in on the three float barns last Friday and Saturday to see the progress of the creations at the commercial builders and to talk to some of the folks doing the decorating. The 130th Tournament of Roses Parade happens on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, so the decorators—almost all volunteers—were busy cutting statice, powdering rice, gluing on flowers, and filling vials.

Be sure to check out the gallery below to see the progress all those volunteers were making.

Making the rounds at Phoenix Decorating Company

Ryan Young with the Farmers Insurance float.

Our trip started off with a bang at Phoenix Decorating Company in Irwindale. We had just walked in the door when a sound like an I-beam hitting the floor split the air. Those cavernous float barns echo, so it turned out it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. There had been a small explosion under the Trader Joe’s float. The folks at Phoenix reacted immediately, with crew chiefs hurrying the decorators off the scaffolding and away from the float.

“Go back to your floats, go back to your floats!” the other volunteers were ordered. Everyone complied, because after all, those floats had to be covered with flowers in less than four days.

We asked a man who had been waiting to work on the Kiwanis float if it was scary. “It certainly was,” he said. Another man suggested that the sulphur-scented smoke we noticed might well be just dust and glue, and we returned to our tour of the floats

At the Farmers Insurance float, “A Carousel of Experience,” we met Ryan Young, a Philadelphia transplant. He’s only been in Pasadena for a few months, and already he was fully into the experience of decorating a float.

“I didn’t realize the scale,” he said, comparing the TV version and the real thing. “It’s neat to see it coming together.”

Young works in procurement for Farmers, which is a good match for his role on the float. He said his job is to be a runner, getting whatever anyone working on the float needs.

At the United Sikh Mission float, “A Divine Melody Resonates in All,” we ran into creative director Minu Singh, whom we spoke with last year. The float features a giant rabab, which she said was the first Sikh instrument. It was used by Guru Nanak to spread his message of the oneness of all though his poems and songs.

“Everything in our holy book is music,” Singh said. “Every time we congregate, it’s about singing.” She spoke of an “eternal cosmic symphony.” “Every bit of creation is part of the symphony,” she said.

A few blocks north at Fiesta Parade Floats

Tejinder and Simran cut statice for the United Sikh Mission float at Phoenix Decorating Company.

We got to Fiesta Parade Floats around lunch time, and most of the volunteers were up on the floats or scaffolds so we stuck to taking pictures. We did notice that there were a couple towering humans looking down from the decks, though.

Lono, the Hawaiian god of music and peace and the deity associated with the fertile lands of the Hawaiian Islands stands at the front of “Rhythms of Paradise,” the Dole Packaged Foods float. Stella Rosa lets the genie out of the (wine) bottle with “Taste of Magic.” (Others are on the American Armenian float at Phoenix and AES’ 24 Hour Fitness float.)

“Harmony Through Union,” the first entry from the Chinese American Heritage Foundation, doesn’t have a whole human, but it does have two spectacularly huge arms, one holding a mallet and the other a golden spike to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the historic meeting of the eastern and western portions of the Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869, and to celebrate the contributions of immigrants.

Rosemont Pavilion

Denise Godfrey and Emma McGregor at the Cal Poly Universities float.

Previously used by Phoenix Decorating Company, Rosemont Pavilion now holds the AES floats for final decorating, as well as Cal Poly Universities and the FTD vehicle decorating. We were able to strike up a couple conversations at the floats. Check back after the Rose Parade for more about the four vehicles that will carry the celebrities in the parade.

At the Cal Poly float, “Far Out Frequencies,” we were given a California Grown sticker, which indicates that 85 percent of the floral material on the float was grown in California. Denise Godfrey was there with her daughter Emma McGregor. Their family business, Olive Hill Greenhouses, was founded by Godfrey’s parents in 1973. They have been supplying indoor plants to Cal Poly for about four years.

At the Chipotle Mexican Grill float, “Cultivate a Better World,” we found Russ Wimmer and Aida Bueno busily mixing spices to cover the float. And that is mostly what will cover the float. Wimmer told us that Chipotle insisted that only the 51 ingredients used at their restaurants can be used on the floats.

Red is created with a mixture of fresh chili pepper flakes and chili powder. The wood is brown rice instead of the usual paper bark, and juniper berries, oregano, lemon leaf, and corn husks are seen throughout the float. Baskets laid out around the deck like a vegetable stand will be filled with fresh produce. The only roses will be a red edging around the bottom and white spray roses tucked into a garland of red chili peppers. The Tournament of Roses granted a variance to allow a wheelchair lift at the back to remain uncovered.

For a list of all the floats with builders and designers, read “Rose Parade 2019 float entries.”

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INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE 2019 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES

by Laura Berthold Monteros

More Than a Parade is the title of a book by Michael K. Riffey, who was Tournament of Roses president in 2004. “America’s New Year Celebration” got started with the Rose Parade in 1890, but nowadays there are many events and activities to keep folks busy between Dec. 26 and Jan. 3. The grand events on Jan. 1, 2019 are 130th Rose Parade and 105th Rose Bowl Game, of course. This guide has information and tips on the how-to of the parade, game, and other activities. Check out our 2019 Tournament of Roses main page for links to our complete calendar and articles on events, ticketing, and floats. With a little planning, your visit to Pasadena should sail along like—well, like a Rose Parade float!

GENERAL TIPS

  • Dress casually and wear comfortable shoes. There will be a lot of walking and standing.
  • The only thing predictable about Southern California weather is its unpredictability. It might be cold in the morning and evening, and hot during the day. Layers are a good idea. So is a weather app!
  • Travel light—carry only what you need for the place you’re going. For all venues, we recommend keeping money or a wallet in a front pocket and limiting valuables to cash, ID, car keys, and tissues.
  • Carry a bottle of water.
  • Accessibility—Pasadena is continually working to increase accessibility for the handicapped and those with sight or hearing difficulties. Questions can be directed to the Accessibility Issues Coordinator at (626) 744-4782 or aeverett@cityofpasadena.net.
  • Get your tickets in advance for pre-parade and post-parade events from Sharp Seating Company. They are also available at the venues, but the lines are long and some of the events sell out.
  • Grandstand tickets for the Rose Parade must be purchased in advance, but there is always room to stand for free.
  • The Pasadena Convention and Visitor Bureau hotline at (877) 793-9911 is a good resource for folks on the go.

GETTING AROUND

  • Plan your driving route and an alternate ahead of time. Traffic is heavier during the days before and after the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.
  • Many streets are closed to all vehicles except those of residents on New Year’s Day, as indicated on this map from the City of Pasadena. Freeway ramp closures should be posted by Caltrans next week, but they will likely be the same as 2018, noted in this Caltrans PDF.
  • Public transportation is available using Metro trains and buses and Pasadena Transit.
  • The train servicing Pasadena is the Gold Line; extra trains are added for the Rose Parade. From the west (North Hollywood and Glendale), the 501 Orange Line bus stops at the Del Mar Gold Line station.
  • Pasadena Transit goes to all the venues within the city limits, but schedules and stops may change in the days leading up to the Rose Parade. There are no Pasadena Transit buses on New Year’s Day.
  • Metro Bike Share is no longer available in Pasadena..

PRE-PARADE EVENTS

Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing), Dec. 28-31 at Rosemont Pavilion in the Rose Bowl area, is a great way to see the final floral touches being applied to the huge constructions.

Sip and Savor (food and activities), Dec. 28-30 on the Jackie Robinson Field behind Rosemont Pavilion. Prices vary.

Live on Green is a free event at the Pasadena Convention Center, Dec. 29-31 starting at 10 a.m. There are activities, music, food, exhibits, and demonstrations for all ages. Parking is available in Convention Center garage (expensive) or at meters on the streets (1-2 hours only). Pasadena Transit Route 10 stops a block to the north.

Equestfest on Dec. 29 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center shows off the skills of the equestrian groups in the Rose Parade. Food and concessions are available on site, and visitors can tour the barns. The 501 Mero Bus is the only public transportation, and the closest stop is about a mile-and-a-half away. Parking in unpaved lots is sold at the venue.

Bandfest has three field shows on Dec. 29 & 30  featuring the bands that march in the Rose Parade at Pasadena City College. Visitors will be in full sun all day, so sunblock and water are musts. Parking is free, and food and concessions are available. Pasadena Transit Routes 10 & 60 will get  you there.

Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Dec. 31 at 12:30 p.m. in Rose Bowl Lot K, is an opportunity to enjoy a luncheon with the inductees into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Parking is free in the lots surrounding the stadium, or take Pasadena Transit Route 51 or 52.

Rose Bowl Bash, Dec. 30 & 31 in Bloc Plaza at Hope & 7th Street, Downtown Los Angeles. this family event is free and is located near the 7th Street Metro Station.

Public Tailgate, Jan. 1, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Lot 1A at the Rose Bowl. The event is free. Contact the Rose Bowl Stadium at (626) 577-3100 or at www.rosebowlstadium.com for more information.

POST-PARADE EVENTS

A Showcase of Floats, Jan. 1 & 2, is the best way to see the floats up close and personal in all their grandeur. There is a lot of walking and standing and almost no shade, so even in cool weather, it can feel quite warm. White Suiters and builders are on hand to offer details about the floats and flowering, and the animation on self-built floats is often running. There are food and merchandise vendors on site and free water from the City of Pasadena. Park-N-Ride shuttles are available, but there are also several lots in the area that sell parking to benefit schools and churches. Free street parking is also available.

THE ROSE PARADE

Parade route closures

The Pasadena Police Department announced that it will continue the early Rose Parade route closure from last year. Closures are indicated on this map from the City of Pasadena. Freeway ramp closures should be posted by Caltrans next week, but they will likely be the same as 2019, noted in this Caltrans PDF.

Getting there

Driving: Bring a map or use GPS, as some streets and freeway ramps will be closed. Try to stay a half mile or more above or below the parade route for as long as possible, and allow at least three times as much time travel as you normally would.

Parking: In addition to commercial parking vendors, there are plenty of spaces available from churches, businesses, and schools in the vicinity. Check out Craigslist Los Angeles for merchants selling reserved parking. Park on the same side of the route that you are coming from to avoid having to cross Colorado Blvd. in a car. Street parking is available for free if you don’t mind walking three-quarters or a mile or more, and the no-overnight-parking rule in Pasadena is suspended within a certain distance of the parade.

Public transportation: Metro Gold Line has several stops within walking distance of the parade. West to east, these stations are Del Mar, Memorial Park, Lake Avenue, and Allen Avenue. Metro runs additional trains and more frequent Gold Line service from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. on parade day.

When to get there and where to sit

  • The parade starts on Orange Grove just south of Colorado Blvd. promptly at 8 a.m. and takes about two hours to get to the end of the route on Sierra Madre Blvd. Grandstands provide the assurance of a reserved seat and a place to sit; the vendor will let purchasers know when to arrive. Parade-goers who don’t mind standing can usually find a good spot up to an hour or two before the parade arrives, especially further east on the route. Viewing is best from the south, or “camera side” of Colorado Blvd.
  • Be sure to look up just before the parade starts, to catch the B2 bomber flying over from west to east!

Travel light

Take a tote bag to stash snacks, beverages and the layers you shed. Keep money or your wallet in a front pocket and limit valuables to cash, ID, car keys, and tissues. Food, beverages and souvenirs are sold along the parade route.

Camping out

Who: Adults and children with adults. No one under the age of 18 may stay overnight on the street without a parent or guardian. Curfew is in effect from 10 p.m. to  5 a.m.

What to bring: Bring enough layers to keep warm, including a sleeping bag. Chairs and small professionally made barbeques (such as hibachis) that stand at least one foot off the ground are allowed. Tents, couches, ladders, scaffolding, boxes, alcoholic beverages, and bonfires or open fires are prohibited.

When & Where: Chairs and bags can be placed beginning at noon the day before the parade. No one is allowed to stand, sit, or have gear in the street until 11 p.m.

Don’t rope off any public area, including the sidewalk, curb, gutter, and street; sell items without a permit; throw anything onto the parade route at any time, including tortillas, marshmallows, and spray string; walk in the street; or block the sidewalk so people cannot easily pass.

Know the players

An official Rose Parade program is well worth the price. They are available on the street, online from Sharp Seating, in stores around town, or at the Pasadena Museum of History.

When the parade is over

Getting home from the Rose Parade can take even longer than getting there. Some people grab a bite to eat at a local restaurant or pack a lunch to eat in their cars while they wait for the traffic to disperse or the lines at the train station to go down. Please remember to put trash in the receptacles provided.

Audio and Braille

A free audio tour of the floats can be downloaded to a cell phone by calling (626) 321-4768.  A special version of the Rose Parade program guide is available in Braille by calling (800) BRAILLE.

ROSE BOWL GAME

Schedule

  • Rose Bowl Stadium parking lots open at 4 a.m.
  • Public Tailgate begins at 8 a.m.
  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Pre-game activities in the stadium begin at 1:00 p.m.
  • Game starts at 1:30 p.m.

Getting there

  • No matter how you go, allow plenty of time. Traffic will be extremely heavy.
  • Stadium and parking map is on the Rose Bowl Stadium site.
  • Parking is $40 per car at the Rose Bowl. There is no reserved parking and no in-and-out privileges, but tickets for parking and tailgating can be purchased in advance at https://www.parkjockey.com/rose-bowl
  • Parking is $45 per car at the Parsons lot in Old Pasadena at Union Street and De Lacey Avenue, with entrances off of Walnut Street and Holly Street in Pasadena. Reserved parking can be purchased in advance through LAZ Parking. Overnight parking and bus and RV parking are also available. Call LAZ Parking at (626) 578-1705 for further details.
  • By rail, take the Gold Line to the Memorial Park Station.
  • By taxi, ride-share, or to be dropped off, the designated drop-off, pick-up and taxi zone is on Holly Street between Fair Oaks Avenue and Arroyo Parkway.  There are no provisions for drop-offs and pick-ups at the stadium.
    A free shuttle at the Parsons lot on Fair Oaks and Holly takes visitors to the stadium whether they arrive by foot, rail, taxi, or car. The shuttle runs continuously from 10:00 a.m. until approximately two hours after the end of the game.

Fan guidelines

  • Please read the Game Safety Guidelines carefully. They are very specific and designed to ensure everyone has a good time. Briefly, they are
  • Everyone and every bag will be searched.
  • Only approved bags will be allowed; details and illustrations are on the site.
  • Strollers are allowed but will have to be checked with an usher or at the checked items tent.
  • The Rose Bowl abides by the Southern California Fan Code of Conduct.
  • If  you see something, say something.

130th TOURNAMENT OF ROSES CALENDAR

Compiled by LB Monteros

DECO WEEK. DEC. 28-31

Most events take place during Deco Week, the last furious flurry of activity that gets the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game ready for the big day. Information on these events is this article.

FRIDAY, DEC. 28, 2018

Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena. See the floats in the final stages of preparation for the Rose Parade. Tickets can be purchased online at Sharp Seating Company for $15. People interested in working on the floats should contact the various float builders.

Sip and Savor (food and activities), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Jackie Robinson Field behind Rosemont Pavilion. Prices vary.

SATURDAY, DEC. 29, 2018

Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing), 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena. Live on Green, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. Free activities, exhibits, and shows for all ages.

Equestfest, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with the show beginning at high noon at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center. Tickets sold on site or online at Sharp Seating for $15 per person (age 5 and under free).

Sip and Savor (food and activities), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Jackie Robinson Field behind Rosemont Pavilion. Prices vary.

Bandfest, 1:30 p.m. at Pasadena City College. Parking is free; tickets on site or online at Sharp Seating for $15 per person (age 5 and under free).

SUNDAY, DEC. 30, 2018

Bandfest, 9:30 a.m. at Pasadena City College.

Live on Green, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena.

Rose Bowl Bash, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Bloc Plaza at Hope & 7th Street, Downtown Los Angeles. Free family event.

Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing), 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena and Rose Float Plaza South, 5400 Irwindale Ave., Irwindale.

Sip and Savor (food and activities), 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the Jackie Robinson Field behind Rosemont Pavilion. Prices vary.

Bandfest, 2 p.m. at Pasadena City College.

MONDAY, DEC. 31, 2018

Live on Green, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena.

Rose Bowl Bash, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Bloc Plaza at Hope & 7th Street, Downtown Los Angeles. Free family event.

Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing), 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena.

Rose Bowl Game Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Rose Bowl Stadium Lot K. Tickets are available from Sharp Seating for $40 and include lunch.

TUESDAY, JAN. 1, 2019

130th Tournament of Roses Parade, promptly at 8 a.m., Colorado Blvd. between Orange Grove and Sierra Madre. Tickets can be purchased from Sharp Seating. Television coverage is on KTLA (live broadcast has no commercials), ABC, Hallmark Channel, NBC, RFD-TV, Univision, and internationally.

Public Tailgate, 8 a.m. t0 1 p.m. on Jan. 1 in Lot 1A at the Rose Bowl. The event is free. Contact the Rose Bowl Stadium at (626) 577-3100 or at www.rosebowlstadium.com for more information.

Showcase of Floats, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards by Victory Park. Tickets on site or from Sharp Seating, $15 per person (age 5 and under free) including Park-N-Ride fare. Street parking is free or paid in local lots. Park-N-Ride shuttles are available at Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

105th Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual, 1 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. Television coverage is exclusively on ESPN.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 2, 2019

Showcase of Floats, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards by Victory Park. Gates open for seniors and disabled visitors at 7 a.m. Tickets on site or from Sharp Seating, $15 per person (age 5 and under free) including Park-N-Ride fare. Street parking is free or paid in local lots. Park-N-Ride shuttles are available at Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd.

Revamped Deco Week for 2019 Tournament of Roses: Food, football, fine wine, and floats

Cal Poly Universities decorate “Dreams Take Flight” for the 2018 Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Deco Week used to a big deal in Pasadena, with two warehouses and a pop-up pavilion filled with floats and cars being decorated for the Rose Parade. The last five or six days before the Rose Parade, folks could drop into the float barns and see dozens of creations getting their final flowering as fresh materials were fastened to floats.

With the last Pasadena builder moving out of town in 2017, there isn’t much decorating left to see in the Crown City, but the Tournament of Roses and partners have gotten creative in providing plenty of things for locals and out-of-towners to see and do. There are two really new things going on this year.

AES, a powerhouse company that builds set pieces for Disney Resorts and other theme parks, produces Hollywood events, and of course designs and builds floats, is moving its floats from Azusa to Pasadena and parking them in Rosemont Pavilion for final flowering during Deco Week. (Phoenix Decorating Company, which used to build there, moved to shiny new headquarters in Irwindale last year.) FTD will again decorate the Rose Parade vehicles in Rosemont.

Rosemont Pavilion, located in the Arroyo just south of the Rose Bowl, is open for viewing from Dec. 28-31. Tickets are available for $15 on site or from Sharp Seating. Floats that will be in the barn are Universal – How to Train Your Dragon, Blue Diamond Almonds, China Airlines, Chipotle, 24 Hour Fitness, and Cal Poly Universities. Tournament vehicles are the Mayor’s fire truck and the President’s, Grand Marshal, and Hall of Fame cars.

The second thing is the brand-spanking new Sip & Savor event, produced by AES, on Jackie Robinson Memorial Field next to Rosemont Pavilion. It looks to be a pretty big event, with food, wine, craft beer, music, and six large-screen TV monitors for football fans. For $15, a person can see the floats and enjoy the entertainment at Sip & Savor. Taste tickets are extra; pricing and the growing list of culinary sponsors are on the website. Dates are Dec. 28-30, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Live on Green is returning to the Pasadena Convention Center Dec. 29-31 for the fourth year, and will have

Peter Samek, AIFD arranges floral material on a 1929 Packard. In the background is J. Keith White, AIFD CFD

plenty of activities for youngsters and grown-ups. Everything except the food and beverages is free for all. The 2018 schedule will be up on their site soon.

 (opens in a new window)Farther afield, The Bloc Plaza in Downtown Los Angeles hosts the second annual Rose Bowl Bash. It’s a celebration of college football and the Rose Bowl Game at Hope and 7th Street. The event is free and includes family-friendly interactive games, Rose Bowl Game merchandise, a beer garden, entertainment, food trucks, and participation from team bands and cheer squads. The 7th Street Metro Center Station is on the corner, making it convenient to take the Metro instead of driving. Dates are Dec. 30, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Dec. 31, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other events during Deco Week include Equestfest and Bandfest, which we have already posted.

“The Melody of Life” is the theme for the 2019 Tournament of Roses. The central events, the 130th Rose Parade and 105th Rose Bowl Game, are held on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. Subscribe to “The Rose Examiner” to get news and articles throughout the year.

 

Photos: Chaka Khan and Gerald Freeny at Rose Parade Grand Marshal Announcement

Chaka Khan, 2019 Rose Parade Grand Marshal, was surprised by the colorful confetti raining down when she came through the purple curtains.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The announcement of the Grand Marshal for the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade had the usual elements. Oct. 17 was a beautiful, warm day, the front porch of Tournament House was gorgeously draped, the band was great, the press stand packed. There was the usual excitement in the audience, waiting to find out who would ride in the Grand Marshal’s car on Jan. 1, 2019. When Chaka Khan was announced, the crowd roared and the confetti cannon went off.

Known as the “Queen of Funk,” Chaka also sings R&B, pop, rock, gospel, and country. We asked what other music she likes; she responded, “I love Indian music.” She just finished a project in the Gujarati language with Indian performer Sonu Nigam, which celebrates the life of Gandhi.

Check out the gallery below for photos, and this link for a video on the TOR Rose Parade Facebook page.

But there was a lot that was unusual in the announcement.

There were fewer hints in the food served, music played, decorations (except for the purple drapes), yet from the murmurs in the crowd, it seemed like more people than normal had an idea of who it would be. That may have been because more details were released ahead of time—10 Grammy awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a place in the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. In his introduction, Pres. Gerald Freeny gave more details that confirmed those hunches, and affirmed that she was indeed a performer who would sing and dance in the opening act of the parade.

Chaka and her retinue were late, reportedly due to LA traffic. The Tournament, which makes sure the Rose Parade starts at 8 a.m. on the dot and the Rose Bowl Game coin toss is never late, announced that the star player would be 15 minutes behind the 9 a.m. start time. It was a quarter after when family members took their seats in the front row, and past 9:30 when Freeny stepped up to the lectern.

Now, a heads-up: Much of this article reflects the opinions of the writer, which is also unusual. If there is one constant in the feelings of folks who love the Rose Parade, it is that they very rarely and almost never publicly criticize the choice of a theme or Grand Marshal. People tend to be pretty polite when it comes to this grand old Pasadena tradition, and the criticism The Rose Examiner heard was couched in the politest terms.

There was disappointment about Chaka’s speech, which seemed thoroughly unprepared. She opened with “Well, I just don’t know where to go with this,” but added, “I’m so honored.” She thrice referred to “the Rose Bowl Parade,” which any GM would have been coached not to do. The theme, “The Melody of Life,” was garbled into “The Rhythm of Life.” References to the parade indicated that she had just not done her homework. (To her credit, she did name the Old Pasadena business district correctly.)

Other than noting that the floats are pretty, she seemed to have no interest in the Rose Parade. She said, “I remember looking at it. But not really looking…. Y’know, it was after the big game.” The game actually comes after the parade. It did seem she was a tad self-conscious—she said, “I hope you like me” and acknowledged that she was “a little bit scared.”

She said little about the Chaka Khan Foundation or what it does. This contrasted with previous Grand Marshals, such as Gary Sinise, whose tireless work for veterans is well known and very personal to him. Jane Goodall had not known about our American tradition when approached, but took the time to find out and agreed to be GM because it is consistent with the values of her charitable work. Actor J.R. Martinez was not a star but has an amazing, compelling story and his courage is indisputable.

There was also some speculation that Stevie Wonder, whom Freeny mentioned three times, was his first choice for Grand Marshal, not Chaka. Indicators were her lack of preparation and not having any idea what she would do for the opening show. Be that as it may, it is not unusual for a president to go with a second or third choice and it doesn’t reflect on how good a GM might be.

A friend of your Rose Examiner was refused by his first choice, who was not available on New Year’s Day, and his second choice backed out at the last minute. His third choice, Gregory Peck, proved to be one of the happiest GMs ever. When he was a child, his family drove up from San Diego to watch the parade every year. One year, they took a stray dog back with them. He was the first, and perhaps only, GM to get the Tournament time on The Tonight Show, due to his friendship with Johnny Carson.

Another late choice was Chesley Sullenberger III for 2010—late, because the TOR president had passed away before choosing a Grand Marshal. Yet what better choice could there have been that year for the theme “A Cut Above the Rest” than the “Hero of the Hudson.”

The Chaka Khan Foundation

Perhaps these comments come out of a suspicion about non-profits, due to years of working for both good ones and bad ones. It is difficult to tell from the foundation website whether the organization is actually out in the community working on programs, or simply partnering with other organizations that do the work. It is fine if a foundation does not actually create or run programs, but supports successful programs financially and with star power. That should be clear in the material, though, whether spoken, written, or posted online. It would have been good to hear more about it from the Tournament media release or Chaka herself.

Chaka established the Chaka Khan Foundation in 1999. The mission statement is “The Chaka Khan Foundation educates, inspires and empowers children in our community to achieve their full potential.” The foundation website says “The Chaka Khan Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization.”

However, it does not show up by EIN search on either Charity Navigator or GuideStar, and only on GuideStar by name, with the note “This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.” The “foundation team” has photos but no names attached, and does not state there is a board of directors as required by law. The only information on  the team page is a long promotional piece for the album “ClassiKhan.”

If Chaka did not do her homework on the Tournament of Roses, it appears that the Tournament of Roses did not do its homework on her foundation, either.

 

Rose Bowl Game 2019 tickets now on sale

copyright 2010 Ramona Monteros

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Tickets to the 105th Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual are now on sale to the public online through Ticketmaster and PrimeSport. “The Granddaddy of Them All” is held in the Rose Bowl Stadium on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019 at 1 p.m. The match-up this time around will be the traditional Pac-12 Conference vs. the Big Ten Conference.

Here’s what fans need to know:

  • The Rose Bowl Game is a contractual sell-out, meaning rival teams and dignitaries hold most of the tickets, so those set aside for the public are limited.
  • There is a limit of four tickets per person.
  • Individual ticket prices start at $160 plus Ticketmaster fees.
  • In addition to online sales, tickets can be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 653-8000.
  • Prime Sport offers various VIP, hospitality, event, and travel packages.
  • Teams will be announced on ESPN on Sunday, Dec. 2.
  • More information on the game is at www.tournamentofroses.com.
  • Tickets for Pasadena residents usually go on sale the first weekend in December.

Watch this space for more information on how to get to the game and what to bring when we post “Insider’s Guide.”

Tickets for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade on sale now

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The 130th Tournament of Roses Parade steps off on Jan. 1, 2019, but readers can start making plans now. It promises to be a delight to hear as well as see, with “The Melody of Life” as the parade theme. Pres. Gerald Freeny reminded us that “Music is the universal language. It’s something that soothes us, calms us, heals us.” It also gets folks dancing in the street.

Here’s the information you need to get a place in the grandstands so you can dance along, 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, ext. 353.

Prices at Sharp Seating range from $55 to $100, depending on the location on the route. Seats on the north and west, or “off-camera,” sides of the route are generally less expensive.  Sharp now

Portable restrooms for Sharp patrons are located behind the grandstands. Pasadena Presbyterian 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 Pasadena and Altadena area also sell programs few weeks before the parade.

Parking

Both Sharp Seating and Pasadena Presbyterian Church sell reserved parking, as well as 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.  Closer to parade time, some merchants list reserved parking on Craigslist.

 

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!

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