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.”

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.

INSIDER’S GUIDE TO THE 2018 TOURNAMENT OF ROSES

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Tournament of Roses is more than the Rose Parade, though that’s how “America’s New Year Celebration” got started in 1890. The 129th Rose Parade and 104th Rose Bowl Game will be the grand events in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2018, but they aren’t the only game in town over the long weekend*. This guide has information and tips on the how-to of the activities. Information on dates, times, locations, and pricing for events are in our complete calendar and our articles on events and Rose Parade ticketing. 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.

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 in this Nixle release and map from the Pasadena Police Department. Freeway ramp closures are 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 available at many locations around the city, including close to train stations, the Rose Parade route, and two in the Arroyo Seco where the Rose Bowl and Rosemont Pavilion are. Fees and a map are on the Metro Bike Share website.

PRE-PARADE EVENTS

Decorating Places (pre-parade float viewing), Dec. 28-31, is a great way to see the final floral touches being applied to the huge constructions. There are two locations: Rosemont Pavilion, in the Rose Bowl area, and Rose Float Plaza South in Irwindale. The two are about 16 miles and a 25-to-45 minute drive apart, depending on traffic. An alternative is to take the Metro Gold Line from Pasadena to the Irwindale stop and walk about a mile south. For Rosemont Pavilion, take Pasadena Transit Route 51 or 52.

Live on Green is a free event at the Pasadena Convention Center, Dec. 29-31. 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. 30 at noon in Rose Bowl Lot K, is an opportunity to enjoy a luncheon with the inductees into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Parking is free in the lots surrounding the stadium, or take Pasadena Transit Route 51 or 52.

Public Tailgate & Fan Fest, begins at 8 a.m. on Jan. 1 on the Brookside Golf Course north of the Rose Bowl. The event is free. Activities include interactive games, television, music, and other family fun. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. 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 begin closing the Rose Parade route earlier than is customary “to enhance public safety and provide for a more efficient deployment of public safety resources.” Closure starts at 10 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017 along Colorado Blvd. from Orange Grove Blvd. on the west to Sierra Madre Blvd. on the east, and up Sierra Madre Blvd. to Paloma St. Key intersections will be staffed by law enforcement personnel to allow vehicles to cross Colorado north and south until 6 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. At that time, the entire route will be closed to all public vehicles. Remember, if you see something, say something.

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.
  • Gates open at 10 a.m.
  • Pre-game activities in the stadium being at 1:00 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 can be purchased in advance at https://www.parkjockey.com/rose-bowl
  • Parking is $40 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 is also available for $80. Bus parking and RV parking 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 10:00AM 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.

Photo gallery: Penn State, USC in the 2017 Rose Parade

USC's mascot, Traveler, lopes along the 2017 Rose Parade route while Tommy Trojan gives the USC salute.
Traveler at Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The University of Southern California Trojans may have won the 103rd Rose Bowl Game 52-49 on Jan. 2, but the Penn State Nittany Lions made them work for it. In honor of two great teams, here are photos of the bands and cheerleaders for both in the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade.

Sitting at TV Corner—the place where the Rose Parade route takes a 109 degree turn from going north on Orange Grove to east on Colorado—we got a great look at both bands. The Penn State fans behind us cheered loudly for the band, chanting “We are Penn State.” The band certainly deserved the cheers for the on-point square turn they made, but somehow the chant lacks the fearsome quality of, say, “Fight on!” or “U(dadada) C(dadada) L(dadada) A.” But that’s betraying our provincialism. Still, it did seem the Penn State Continue reading “Photo gallery: Penn State, USC in the 2017 Rose Parade”

Hundreds of girls try out for the 2017 Rose Parade Royal Court. Here are a few.

2016 Rose Princesses Natalie Hernandez-Barber and Donaly Marquez in their Royal Court summer frocks, in between orientation sessions.
2016 Rose Princesses Natalie Hernandez-Barber and Donaly Marquez in their Royal Court summer frocks, in between orientation sessions.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

It’s always a treat to talk to young women who try out for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. It’s even sweeter to catch up with those who made it and have returned to Tournament House to explain the process to the hopefuls lined up on a warm Saturday morning in September. At the tryouts on Sept. 10, Rose Princesses Natalie Hernandez-Barber and Donaly Marquez from the 2016 Court found a few minutes between the groups of girls they were orienting to speak with us.

We spoke with a dozen young ladies after they had passed through the first round of judging and taken a tour of Tournament House. The photos and a little bit about each one are in the gallery below.

In the year since they sat on the porch listening to Princesses Emily Stoker and Gabrielle Current fill them in, Natalie and Donaly have made more than 100 appearances for the Tournament of Roses, finished high school and entered college, and gained lessons  Continue reading “Hundreds of girls try out for the 2017 Rose Parade Royal Court. Here are a few.”

Never on Sunday for the Tournament of Roses

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The 128th Rose Parade and January-2-2017103rd Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena, Calif. will not be held on New Year’s Day in 2017.  Why?  Because it’s a Sunday, and the Tournament of Roses Association just doesn’t do parades on Sundays. Instead, the Tournament of Roses will be held on Monday, Jan. 2 for the 19th time. The “Never on Sunday Rule” may seem like a blue law—an ordinance designed to enforce the religious practice of Sunday as a day of rest—but it actually makes a lot of sense in Pasadena.  Here’s a little history, and some geography to boot.

The tradition began in 1893 for the fourth Rose Parade. This was the first time the parade fell on a Sunday, and the Valley Hunt Club, which ran the parade, realized it might cause some havoc to run a parade along the main drag when a whole lot of people were in church. Colorado Blvd., the longest stretch of the Rose Parade, is lined with churches large and small and has been for well more than a century.

The problem wasn’t the worshipers, though one might suspect that the organizers would have preferred they stand outside and watch the parade and the clergy might have preferred that the parade-goers be in church. Continue reading “Never on Sunday for the Tournament of Roses”