Rose Bowl Game teams and Hall of Fame in the 2018 Rose Parade: Photos

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Rose Parade is an opportunity for rivals on the Rose Bowl field to have a little cheer and marching rivalry in front of the 80 million people watching on the route or on video who won’t be at the Granddaddy of Them All. The band are loud and the cheerleaders extra enthusiastic as they pass grandstands full of fans from their universities. In between the two schools are the 2017 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, representing football greats of the past.

The 104th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2018 was a hard-fought match between the Georgia Bulldogs and Oklahoma Sooners. Georgia pulled out a 54-48 victory in double overtime. The game was the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame pays tribute to athletes and coaches, and an occasional person of special significance, who have made outstanding contributions to the history and excitement of the game. This year’s inductees were Mack Brown (coach, University of Texas), Cade McNown (UCLA), Charles Woodson (Michigan), and Dr. Charles West (Washington & Jefferson). For more about them, read “Rose Bowl Hall of Fame 2017.” Inductees are honored with a plaque in the Court of Champions at the stadium.

All photos are copyright 2018, LB Monteros

Celebrity lineup in the 2018 Rose Parade: Rose Queen, Pres. Tibbet, PCC Honor Band

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Tournament of Roses Parade steers clear of being a parade of personalities, but there are five VIP entries every year: Tournament president, Grand Marshal, Pasadena mayor, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, and of course, the Rose Queen and Royal Court. The gallery below includes the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band and Herald Trumpets, because when it comes to Pasadena celebrities, they are right up there.

Today, center stage are Pres. Lance Tibbet, Rose Queen Isabella Marez and the Rose Princesses introduced by the Herald Trumpets, Mayor Terry Tornek, and the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. The information on each is in the captions with the photos. We’ve already written about Grand Marshal Gary Sinise in “Honoring vets in the 2018 Rose Parade” and will cover the sports aspect of the parade and more about the cars and flowering in upcoming pieces.

A bit about the band: It’s comprised of the PCC Lancer Band, plus 200 of the more than 500 high school music students who auditioned. Jack Taylor is the band director, Tad Carpenter is the percussion director, and Dr. James Arnwine, dean of the Performing Arts at PPC, served as the assistant band director.


All photos are copyrighted by LB Monteros. Contact for permissions.

Honoring vets in the 2018 Rose Parade with USMC, GM Gary Sinise, Purple Heart: Photos

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The four entries leading off the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1 formed a group tribute to veterans of United States military service: USMC Mounted Color Guard, USMC West Coast Composite Band, Grand Marshal Gary Sinise, and the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float. The float, “Sacrifice to Serve,” was co-sponsored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A., Inc. to honor recipients of the Purple Heart, which is awarded to service members who were injured in battle.

The color guard is a fixture at the front of the Rose Parade. Headquartered at the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Barstow, Calif., it is the last remaining US Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard. The Marines ride rescued wild mustangs, adopted through the Bureau of Land Management’s Adopt a Horse program. GySgt Carlton Esswein is the Staff NCO in charge of the unit; MCLB Barstow commanding officer is Col. Sekou Karega and the base sergeant major is SgtMaj Sergio MartinezRuiz.

Small but mighty, the USMC West Coast Composite Band plays the Marine’s Hymn and other march favorites. For 2018, the band was comprised of Marine Band San Diego, First Marine Division Band, and 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing Band led by drum major GySgt Hugh Wurts. CWO3 Christian Flores, Band Officer and MGySgt Brian Paradis, Bandmaster, direct the band. All band members are fully combat trained, and many have been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise has worked with veterans’ organizations for decades and established the Gary Sinise Foundation to better serve them. His work fits well with the parade theme “Making a Difference.” Sinise was thrilled to be chosen as the Rose Parade Grand Marshal, because he grew up watching the parade and realizes the honor and reach of this annual tradition.

The 1919 Dodge Brothers automobile that carried him and his wife, Moira Harris, was the car driven by Jimmy Stewart (himself a WWII veteran) in It’s a Wonderful Life and is used by owners Keith and Marilyn Smith to raise money for veteran groups. The movie was the holiday entertainment of choice for the family of Tournament of Roses Pres. Lance Tibbet, so the car is special to him, as well.

The Rose Examiner has posted several articles about Gary Sinise and the car:

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

Photo gallery: Tournament of Roses 2018 Grand Marshal Gary Sinise

Grand Marshal Gary Sinise tries out his Rose Parade ride

“Sacrifice to Serve,” the 69th Rose Parade entry for Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float, Inc., won the Director Award for most outstanding artistic design and floral presentation. It was designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company. The float used 158,320 roses and other flowers, as well as a large variety of dry materials. Pampas and buffalo grasses, palm bark and palm bark fiber, and hand-cut corn husk feathers covered the imposing eagle. The purple heart at the front was created with dark blue iris, yellow and white mums, gold clover and flax seed, and fine-cut yellow strawflower. Floragraphs used onion powder, poppy seed, rice, ground split pea, strawflower, statice, walnut shell, and coffee.

All photos copyright 2018 by LB Monteros.


2019 Rose Parade



The Rose Parade is a grand and glorious pageant, viewed by an estimated 80 million people around the world. It’s also a small-town parade, with the Queen and Court chosen from local young women and six of the 45 or so floats self-built by local cities and a university. Most of the equestrian units come from the Southwest, but the bands come from all over the world.


Where to get tickets and parking for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade

There is no such thing as the Rose BOWL Parade!


General Information

Rose Parade trophies get an update for 2018

Rose Parade 2019 events: Buy tickets for Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats

Documentary ‘Float’ chronicles Burbank’s entry from concept to Colorado Blvd.

Building Rose Parade floats: The tools of the trade

Put flowers on a float! Some tips


Marching bands chosen to play ‘The Melody of Life’ in the 2019 Rose Parade



Rose Parade 2019 events: Buy tickets for Bandfest, Equestfest, Decorating Places, Showcase of Floats

Remo Drums of the world leads the crowd at Bandfest in tapping out rhythms.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

There are days of events preceding and following the Rose Parade. 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 on site, 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, 2018, $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, and provides entry to all locations.  Times vary by day and location; check the website for details.

Bandfest presented by Remo, $15 per performance, Dec. 29, 2018 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, 2018 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 sponsored by Miracle-Gro, Jan. 1, 2019 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. Sales end at 3 p.m.

Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Dec. 31, 2018, noon to 1:30 p.m., $40

Enjoy a luncheon with the inductees into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2018. It’s held at the Rose Bowl Stadium in the Lot K Tent

“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.


2018 Rose Parade exciting opening with music, dancing, planes, Honda float: Photos

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The 129th Tournament of Roses Parade opened with a rousing show that featured Broadway and YouTube star Todrick Hall, dancers, and the Riverside City College Marching Tigers Band and Color Guard. Playing off the theme poster for “Making A Difference,” the two-part set piece mimicked a cinder block wall with bright graffiti, and a garden of fanciful cutout animals. In the sky, there were birds, planes, and heroes and on the street were motorcycles and floats.

The Opening Show Presented by Honda has led off the Rose Parade since 2011. It’s definitely a made-for-TV production, because the full show is performed only in front of a small section of stands on Orange Grove Blvd. Television cameras capture the action from the street, cameras on booms, and the Goodyear blimp. Readers who missed it, can see it on, a bit over one minute in. We couldn’t get photos of Rose Queen Isabella Marez and Hall kicking off the festivities (they were on the off-camera side), but we got plenty of the show.

Check out the photo gallery below for the opening spectacle

The B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flyover is always a crowd-pleaser and is amazingly quiet until it is almost directly overhead. The plane carries a crew of two pilots and has a wingspan of 172 feet and weight of 175 tons. Its home base is Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri.

The 2018 flyover added two F-35 Lightning II stealth fighters in a tribute organ donation. The F-35 to the left of the bomber represented giving life (organ donors) and to the right, receiving life (organ recipients). Organ donor USAF Maj. Benjamin “Chex” Meier piloted the plane on the left before he lost his life; it was flown by a close friend for the Rose Parade. Air Force officials joined with Major Meier’s family in a ceremony at Edwards AFB in California, where his squadron finished decorating a floragraph of the major for the Donate Life float. More about Maj. Chex Meier here and here.
American Honda “Power of Dreams Express” was spectacular and entertaining, with a dancing locomotive and three cars carrying musicians, Honda community volunteers, and representatives of charities that benefit children. The train was “crafted from enchanted musical instruments,” as the Honda media material read. Elements of brass, percussion, a calliope, and a piano created the joyful display. Fireworks shot from the horns, the cow catcher piano keys went up and down, the wheels turned, and the boiler on the locomotive rolled side to side and up and down. The clock on the front was set for the start time of the 2018 Rose Parade.

Riding in the center car were Honda Community Volunteers Cathy Hutchinson, Paul Mejia, Ruth Tsuji, and Nichole Whitley. In the caboose were Honda Philanthropy Partners were KTLA News anchor Frank Buckley and his son, Ben, representing Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation; Landin Aguilar and Marissa Hernandez representing National Youth Project Using Minibikes; and brain cancer survivor Michael Gates and his mother, Colleen representing Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.

Honda floats are propelled by a specially configured hybrid, low-emission engine to help the float function more efficiently and reduce its carbon footprint, and Theme Banner float is powered by a low emission Honda hybrid engine. “Power of Dreams Express” was covered in more than 126,000 flowers, including hot pink and red carnations and roses, mums in a spectrum of colors, Amaranthus, and gladiolas. A large variety of dry materials were used to provide color and texture; tiny stars were yellow split peas applied one by one.


All photos copyright 2018, LB Monteros. Contact administrator for permissions.

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


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”

2017 Rose Parade Opening & Closing Shows

Final words of the 128th Rose Parade from the Tournament of Roses and Santa Clara Vanguard Drum and Bugle Corps.

American Honda presents spectacular opening show at the Tournament of Roses Parade, including a band and drill teams, the Theme Banner float, and the company’s own float. The crowd responds with loud cheers. First, though, is the contingent of Pasadena Police Department motorcycle cops, who do some fancy riding to get the folks warmed up, and the sound and pace cars. The show was especially rousing for the 128th Rose Parade, and is really best seen from the overhead cameras of KTLA. A post-parade video of the float is on YouTube.

As the parade finishes up, Wells Fargo takes the reins with a stagecoach and a patriotic performance that honors military veterans. In 2017, the entry focused on the American Red Cross’ assistance to veterans and their families. Coming at the official end of the parade is a mounted law enforcement group.

And then comes the “Second Parade,” a mass of folks organizing in what seems a spontaneous demonstration, but which is usually well-rehearsed so parade-goers will be entertained while the point is made.


For more articles on the Tournament of Roses, check out our 2017 Rose Parade main page.

All photos are copyright Ramona Monteros or Laura B. Monteros

Opening Show presented by American Honda

Closing Show presented by Wells Fargo