Hope and happiness make for a good Tournament. Our interview with Pres. Laura Farber

Laura V. Farber in the parlor of Tournament House

by Laura Berthold Monteros

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.”

The official 2020 Tournament of Roses pin is circular to represent that hope is never ending

“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.)

Each block letter has an embedded illustration: band, equestrian, float, Rose Bowl Stadium

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.’”

New TOR Pres. Laura Farber brings ‘The Power of Hope’ to 2020

Laura Farber, courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

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.”

Readers can see a video of her announcement from her new office.

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.

Tournament of Roses 2020, courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn.

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.

 

Pamela Knapp will be 2027 Tournament of Roses President

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Pamela Knapp of La Cañada Flintridge was elected as a vice president on the Tournament of Roses Executive Committee on Jan. 17, 2019. This puts her in line to be the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association’s president in 2027, the fifth woman to hold that position. She will oversee the 138th Rose Parade and 113th Rose Bowl Game.

Knapp’s family history goes back to the very first Tournament of Roses in 1890, when her great-grandfather James Carroll Sheppard was captain of the winning Tug-of-War team from Duarte. Another great-grandfather, Moses Sarkis Pashgian, was Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade in 1915.

She first served as a chair in 2010 and a director in 2012. Committees she has chaired Membership Development, Equestrian, Float Construction, Formation Area, and Float Entries, and served as vice chair of Music, University Entertainment, and Equestrian Committees. Her community work has included serving on the board of directors of the La Cañada Flintridge Sister Cities Association, multiple terms as council president and PTA president with the La Cañada Unified School District, and the National Charity League. Knapp and her husband, Don, have three children, Meghan, Christopher, and Justin.

Knapp is retired from the banking industry where she held the position of vice president of First Interstate Bank. She graduated from University of Southern California in 1984 with a B.S. Business Administration. While at USC, she was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority and attended Cambridge University, Cambridge, England.

Executive Committee officers

In addition, the following officers were elected to serve with Knapp on the 14-member Executive Committee: Robert B. Miller, Executive Vice President; Amy Wainscott, Treasurer; Alex Aghajanian, Secretary. Gerald Freeny, President of the 2019 Tournament of Roses, serves as Past President. Re-elected to the Executive Committee as vice presidents are Ed Morales, Mark Leavens, and Terry Madigan.  The five appointed at-large members are Zabrina Alibadbad, Teresa Chaure, Tiffany Gardner, James Jones, and Herman Quispe. Farber also announced the election of a new member to the Tournament of Roses Board of Directors, Loren Klock.

Photo courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association

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.

 

Chaka Khan is the Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade!

Chaka Khan accepted the honor of Grand Marshal of the 130th Rose Parade from Pres. Gerald Freeny.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Speculation was rampant. Who would be the chosen one to lead the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade? With a theme of “The Melody of Life” and Pres. Gerald Freeny’s love of jazz and Motown, it was pretty obvious it would be a musician. And it is. At Tournament House this morning, as Pres. Freeny’s read her name, Chaka Khan stepped through the white and purple curtains to accept honor of Grand Marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade.

Khan is a perfect choice, not only because of her 10 Grammys, star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and place in the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame, but because, as with Freeny himself, she considers life to be melody that is universal. She told The Rose Examiner that she is currently working on a project with Indian singer Sonu Nigam. She’s learning to sing in his language, Gujarati.

The event started a bit late, due to delays on the way to Pasadena. As her family took their seats, everyone else sat on the edge of theirs. As Freeny read of Khan’s achievements before announcing her name, more and more people realized which name he was going to say. We’ve got lots of photos—return to this page for a full gallery!

 

Who’s your guess for the 2019 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal?

2019 Tournament of Roses poster

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The person—or persons—who will serve as Grand Marshal for the 130th Rose Parade and toss the coin for the 105th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2019 will be announced at Tournament House on Wednesday, October 17 at 9 a.m. Pres. Gerald Freeny will do the honors Who will it be?

The theme is “The Melody of Life,” so that’s a clue. The poster and signs feature a saxophone—could that be a clue? Pres. Freeny likes jazz, but also rock and hymnody. Here’s what we wrote after we interviewed him last January:

With such an expansive theme, it’s difficult to make guesses about who the Grand Marshal might be. Freeny said they are working on several. He, his wife Trina, and adult daughter Erica are “praying to get who we really, really want.” They aren’t short on suggestions, though. One was Condoleeza Rice, who is a highly talented pianist as well as having served as both National Security Advisor and Secretary of State for George W. Bush. Even her name is melodious: It’s derived from con dolcezza, a musical term meaning “with sweetness.” LA Phil music director Gustavo Dudamel has been mentioned, but Freeny’s frat brothers in Kappa Alpha Psi are pushing for someone from Motown. He even opined that it could be more than one, as Brad Ratliff had in the 2017 parade.

Our guesses include classical music artists such as Condi Rice or local hero Gustavo Dudamel, Broadway star Audra McDonald, or an entire group from rock, Motown, or other popular music genre. Somehow, however, we just don’t have a handle on where this might go. There are too many genres of music and too many great musicians to make an educated guess.

Let us know yours in the comments! You have to sign in (this is to avoid spam comments), but we never use your information. And don’t forget to watch the announcement, streaming live on Facebook!

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.”