Tournament of Roses float listing for 2017 Rose Parade is here!

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Forty sponsored floats will participate in the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, 2017. In addition, four floats representing the Tournament of Roses fill roll down Colorado Blvd., two for the universities participating in the Rose Bowl Game, the theme banner, and the Royal Court float. Trophies will be awarded to 24 of the floats.

Sponsored entries

  1. 24 Hour Fitness, AES
  2. AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Fiesta Parade Floats
  3. American Armenian Rose Float Association, Phoenix Decorating Company
  4. American Honda Motor Co., Phoenix Decorating Company
  5. BDK, a Singpoli Affiliate, Paradiso Parade Floats
  6. Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, Self-Built
  7. Cal Poly Universities, Self-Built
  8. California Milk Advisory Board, Fiesta Parade Floats
  9. China Airlines, AES
  10. City of Alhambra, CA, Phoenix Decorating Company
  11. City of Hope, Phoenix Decorating Company
  12. City of Los Angeles, Fiesta Parade Floats
  13. Dole Packaged Foods, Fiesta Parade Floats
  14. Donate Life, Paradiso Parade Floats
  15. Downey Rose Float Association, Self-Built
  16. Farmers Insurance, Phoenix Decorating Company
  17. Kaiser Permanente, Fiesta Parade Floats
  18. Kiwanis International, Phoenix Decorating Company
  19. La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, Self-Built
  20. Lions Clubs International, Phoenix Decorating Company
  21. Lucy Pet , Fiesta Parade Floats
  22. Lutheran Laymen’s League, Phoenix Decorating Company
  23. Miracle-Gro, Fiesta Parade Floats
  24. National Hockey League (NHL), Phoenix Decorating Company
  25. Netflix, AES
  26. Northwestern Mutual, Fiesta Parade Floats
  27. Occupational Therapy Association of California, Fiesta Parade Floats
  28. Odd Fellows Rebekahs Rose Float, Phoenix Decorating Company
  29. RAGÚ, Paradiso Parade Floats
  30. Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee, Inc., Phoenix Decorating Company
  31. Shriners Hospitals for Children, Phoenix Decorating Company
  32. Sierra Madre Float Association, Self-Built
  33. South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, Self-Built
  34. The Bachelor, Fiesta Parade Floats
  35. The UPS Store, Inc., Paradiso Parade Floats
  36. Torrance Rose Float Association, Fiesta Parade Floats
  37. Trader Joe’s, Phoenix Decorating Company
  38. Union Bank and the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate, Phoenix Decorating Company
  39. United Sikh Mission, Phoenix Decorating Company
  40. Western Asset Management Company, Phoenix Decorating Company

Tournament of Roses entries

  1. Queen and Court, Fiesta Parade Floats Parade Floats
  2. Rose Bowl Game University #1, AES
  3. Rose Bowl Game University #2, AES
  4. Theme Banner, Phoenix Decorating Company Decorating Company

Bands in the 2017 Rose Parade

Equestrians in the 2017 Rose Parade

Dole Packaged Foods, Real California Milk unveil 2017 Rose Parade float designs

dole_0-2017by Laura Berthold Monteros

Dole Packaged Foods and Real California Milk return to the Tournament of Roses Parade and Fiesta Parade Floats in 2017 with the beautiful “Spirit of Hawaii” and the fun and whimsical “Legacy of Generations” floats. To kick off the New Year’s season—which starts in November in Pasadena—Dole has launched a sweepstakes for a vacation for two to the Big Island of Hawaii. It runs through midnight on Dec. 31, 2016. The grand prize includes hotel and airfare and there are weekly prizes. Fans can enter at or

The 128th Rose Parade on Jan. 2, 2017 marks Dole Packaged Foods’ seventh year in the parade. With six Sweepstakes wins, Dole has won more sweeps trophies than any other Rose Parade sponsor. The floats have showcased the various countries and cultures where Dole fruit is grown. “Spirit of Hawaii” celebrates its history in the Hawaiian Islands, dating back to 1899 when James Dole first traveled there. King Kamehameha stands at the front of the float and Pele, the goddess of fire, wind, lightning, and volcanoes towers at the back as a volcano erupts behind her. The float features the largest waterfall in Rose Parade history. Decorations will include fresh, non-GMO fruits and vegetables grown by Dole, including bananas, pineapples and mangoes.

“Hawaii is an important part of Dole’s heritage,” said Dave Spare, Vice President of Marketing, Dole Packaged Foods. “We want to share our rich history with Rose Parade viewers across the globe through this float and bring a bit of paradise to the community during the holiday season – through not only this beautiful float design, but also our charitable efforts with Feeding America and FOOD Share.”

The company will participate in “Spirit of Giving” by collecting non-perishable food items at the annual Live on Green event in Pasadena Dec. 30 – Jan. 1, Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale, and its headquarters in Westlake Village, Calif.  Donations benefit Ventura County’s regional food bank, FOOD Share, part of Feeding America, and its partners throughout the San Gabriel Valley. FOOD Share President and CEO Bonnie Atmore to ride on Dole’s Rose Parade float in honor of her commitment to feeding, nourishing, and educating the hungry.

real-california-milk-2017-cmab_0With its second Rose Parade entry, the California Milk Advisory Board will feature multi-generational California dairy farm families in keeping with the parade theme, “Echoes of Success.” “Legacy of Generations” is a reminder that the knowledge passed from generation to generation and the essential partnership between the farmers, the land, the animals and their communities have made California the number one dairy state. A life-size animated Holstein cow has center stage on a satellite float. As on last year’s float, decoration materials will utilize co-products of food production, such as almond hulls and walnut shells, products used as feed for dairy cows that would otherwise end up in landfills and that cows, as ruminants, turn into a nutritious food.

“We are honored to have this year’s Rose Parade float represent the more than 200-year legacy of California dairy and generations of farm families who have committed endless hours to working with the land and animals in their care to produce a real, wholesome and nutritious food,” said John Talbot, CEO of Real California Milk and the California Milk Advisory Board. “The float design reflects the farm tradition passed from generation to generation in the hope that successfully working together can echo throughout the community with healthy, happy people.”

What’s in a nickname? How Pasadena California is known to locals and the world

pasadena-city-logoby Laura Berthold Monteros

The Tournament of Roses Parade is watched in-person by hundreds of thousands, and the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game are seen on television and over the internet by tens of millions of people around the world. For many, it wouldn’t be New Year’s without America’s New Year Celebration.

The City of Pasadena, incorporated in 1886 by a group of well-to-do folks from the Midwest, has been hosting the Tournament of Roses since 1890.  It was originally a way to show off the lovely climate in Southern California to people suffering through winter snows, and was perhaps as much a real estate venture as a celebration. Its popularity over the decades has caused many to refer to Pasadena as “The City of Roses” or even “Rose City.” Numerous businesses are named “Rose City” this or that—veterinarians, pediatricians, dentists, counselors, contractors, even a laundromat and a high school. But folks who drive around a bit are likely to see more signs with the moniker “Crown City.”

This is because the true City of Roses is Portland, Oregon, which boasts an ideal climate for growing roses and holds its own Rose Festival in June. Pasadena, California, is “The Crown City.”  The name is ubiquitous around town, and yep, Continue reading “What’s in a nickname? How Pasadena California is known to locals and the world”

Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain

Dolphins on the Cunard float at the 2011 Showcase of Floats
Cunard float dolphins at 2011 Showcase of Floats

by Laura Berthold Monteros

There are two maxims about the Rose Parade that everyone in Pasadena knows: There’s never a parade on a Sunday, and it doesn’t rain on the parade.  Some say that the sunshiny days the Tournament of Roses has enjoyed are God smiling on the parade due to the “Never on Sunday” rule, which has held since the first time Jan. 1 fell on a Sunday in 1893 and the parade was moved to Jan. 2.  The second—well, 10 rainy days in a century-and-a-quarter isn’t a bad batting average.

What about the upcoming Rose Parade? Southern California weather forecasts are notoriously inaccurate, but here’s what we can say. It will be cold overnight and into the morning until sunup, when it might be  mild, warm, or hot. We’ve known it to shower right up to step-off at 8 a.m., when the skies open up and the California sunshine pours through, and we’ve walked around the post-parade Showcase of Floats in the rain.

The odds of rain? About one in 12, but that figure doesn’t mean much. The rainy years were closer together in the beginning, at two every 12 years: 1895, 1899, 1906, 1910, 1916, 1922, 1934, 1937. Note that the first one was only two years after the Never on Sunday rule went into effect. Then came a break of 18 years to 1955, when Chief Justice Earl Warren was the Grand Marshal, and a hiatus of a whopping 51 years to 2006, when Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor was Grand Marshal. That has led Continue reading “Will it rain on my Rose Parade? The rules: No Sundays, water themes, or Supreme Court Justices equals no rain”

‘Canines with Courage’ honors dogs who save the lives of troops at war


by Laura Berthold Monteros

I originally posted this article in 2012. I’m reposting it today, in honor of our four-legged veterans and the men and women who trained and worked them. Be sure to check out the album below.


Natural Balance Pet Foods is known for Rose Parade floats that push the envelope—world’s longest, world’s heaviest—with dogs who skateboard, skimboard, surf, and ski board.  The 2013 Rose Parade will see something very different from Natural Balance.

“Canines with Courage” honors military working dogs who have often gone to war and saved the lives of American troops.  The float, built by Fiesta Parade Floats, is a replica of the Military Working Dogs National Monument that will be erected at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in late 2013.  Currently the statues are touring the county, and will be on display at the post-Rose Parade Showcase of Floats.

On Friday, we caught up with a few of the riders who will be on “Canines with Courage” on Jan. 1, 2013.

Robert Harr served in the US Navy Underwater Demolition Team that was attached to the Marines—“It’s called the SEALS today,” he said—and handled the most decorated dog of World War II.  The dogs operated behind enemy lines in the Pacific Theater, sniffing out the enemy.  The operations were highly secret.  “We never knew where we were going,” Harr said.

“The dog saved 150 lives,” he said, and served on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  “His name was Rex, but after Iwo Jima and Okinawa, people started calling him ‘that Oki dog.’”  He lived to be 16 and met President Harry S. Truman at one point.  “The dog didn’t like Truman,” Harr laughed.

Robert Harr will be riding on the float with two other handlers we spoke with, Gy. Sgt. Christopher Willingham and Cpl. Juan Rodriguez (Marines).  Both handled the 2012 Hero Dog Lucca, a German Shepherd/Malinois mix.  Lucca is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Her record is spotless; no troops were lost or injured on her watch. Continue reading “‘Canines with Courage’ honors dogs who save the lives of troops at war”

California high schoolers learn CPR with help from Union Bank and American Heart Association

Union Bank Crenshaw High School Student-Run Branch Manager Vernell Taylor, singer/songwriter/dancer Ilisa Juried, Abraham Lincoln High School Principal Jose Torres, Union Bank Student-Run Branch Manager Wendy Estrada, and Los Angeles-Central Coast Regional President Leticia Aguilar; unveil the Union Bank and American Heart Association float dedicated to CPR training after the donation of CPR training kits to Lincoln and Crenshaw High Schools. (left to right)
Union Bank Crenshaw High School Student-Run Branch Manager Vernell Taylor, singer/songwriter/dancer Ilisa Juried, Abraham Lincoln High School Principal Jose Torres, Union Bank Student-Run Branch Manager Wendy Estrada, and Los Angeles-Central Coast Regional President Leticia Aguilar unveil the Union Bank and American Heart Association float dedicated to CPR training after the donation of CPR training kits to Lincoln and Crenshaw High Schools. (left to right)

By Laura Berthold Monteros

For the second year in a row, Union Bank and the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate are teaming up to sponsor a float with a message in the Tournament of Roses Parade. “Keep the Beat Alive,” designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company for the 2017 Rose Parade on Jan. 1, will promote teaching high school students to perform CPR. The float will highlight youth who actually saved a life by administering CPR and the person they saved, and will honor the future generations of lifesavers who will learn CPR through new California legislation. More than 200,000 students will be trained every year.

High school students learn to perform hands-only CPR with kits donated by Union Bank. Courtesy Union Bank
High school students learn to perform hands-only CPR with kits donated by Union Bank. Courtesy Union Bank

The float was unveiled last month at a ceremony at Abraham Lincoln High School in Los Angeles, and Union Bank made a donation of eight CPR in Schools training kits to Lincoln and Crenshaw High School. The event also featured a CPR training lesson for students and announced a CPR dance team, comprised of students from both schools, to appear in the Rose Parade along with the float.

In September, 2016, California passed Assembly Bill 1719 that requires hands-only CPR training Continue reading “California high schoolers learn CPR with help from Union Bank and American Heart Association”

Meet Bobby Bell, Ricky Ervins, Tommy Prothro, Art Spander at Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

Copyright LB Monteros
Copyright LB Monteros

The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Jan. 1, 2017 gives fans the opportunity to meet the inductees to the Class of 2016 the day before the Granddaddy of Them All. Limited tickets are available from Sharp Seating, (626) 795-4171 at $40 for reserved seating with lunch and $10 general admission. A food truck will be on site. The event is at noon in Rose Bowl Stadium Lot K tent.

The inductees are local hero from John Muir High School and University of Southern California, Ricky Ervins; Bobby Bell of University of Minnesota; Tommy Prothro, Duke player and Oregon State University coach; and Art Spander, award-winning journalist who has covered 53 Rose Bowl Games. More details of their careers here. The Rose Bowl Game takes place on Jan. 2, 2017.

Do the Granddaddy of Them All: Rose Bowl Game tickets and how-to information for 2017

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Tickets and packages for the 103rd Rose Bowl Game on Monday, Jan. 2, 2017 are on sale at PrimeSport. Since the game is a “contractual sellout,” meaning the majority of tickets are reserved for the two participating universities for their fans, tickets are hard to come by.  Other tickets are reserved for Pasadena City Council members to distribute to their constituents, and for a few members of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association and celebrities.  It’s not easy to get tickets, but it can be done.

Pasadena residents

The Tournament of Roses offers Pasadena residents age 18 and older an opportunity to purchase two tickets each for the Rose Bowl Game one day only, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2015 at 9 a.m. They are sold at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium box office, 300 E. Green Street.  No line-ups will be allowed prior to 7 a.m. Random numbered armbands are issued from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Purchasers must prove residency with a valid California driver’s license or California Identification card with a Pasadena address.  No other form of ID will be accepted.   Cash, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover will be accepted, but checks will not. Tickets are $162 ($150 plus $12 box office fees) each and are limited to two per person.  For More Information, Continue reading “Do the Granddaddy of Them All: Rose Bowl Game tickets and how-to information for 2017”

Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, Allyson Felix are 2017 Rose Parade Grand Marshals

The three Grand Marshals for the 2017 Rose Parade, Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, and Allyson Felix are happy to be on stage with Sam the Olympic Eagle from the 1984 Los Angeles games. The announcement took place on Nov. 3, 2016. All photos copyright 2016 Laura Berthold Monteros


by Laura Berthold Monteros

This morning at Tournament House in Pasadena, the biggest secret in town was revealed. Pres. Brad Ratliff announced that the Grand Marshals of the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade are Allyson Felix, Greg Louganis, and Janet Evans. All three are native Southern Californians who are world famous, multiple Olympic medal winners in multiple years, and world record holders. And all three serve on the LA 2024 Athletes’ Advisory Commission, ensuring that Olympians and Paralympians are involved in all aspects of the plans to bring the Olympic Games to Los Angeles in 2024.

Be sure to check out the album at the end of this article!

Ratliff, who chose the theme “Echoes of Success” for 2017, opened the ceremony by asking, “How cool is it that we’re at the house of the guy who built the World Series champion team?” Tournament House belonged to the William Wrigley family before it was donated to the City of Pasadena for use as the Tournament of Roses headquarters. He continued by rattling off numbers that can be considered indicators of success: 128 Rose Parades, 103 Rose Bowl Games, 935 volunteers and 37 staff members, 120 Grand Marshals, two of whom were puppets.

“All are successful in their own stories, even if their story is narrated by Kermit The Frog or Charlie McCarthy,” Ratliff said. He noted that it’s sometimes difficult to find a Grand Marshal who fits the theme of the year, “but not this year.” Indeed, he found three who are personally successful and whose success echoes in the many people they have inspired. Each swept through the golden curtains draping the front entryway and gave a short speech, and each mentioned that they grew up with the Rose Parade as a family tradition. Rose Queen Victoria Castellanos handed each a bouquet of long-stemmed red roses.  Continue reading “Greg Louganis, Janet Evans, Allyson Felix are 2017 Rose Parade Grand Marshals”

Building Rose Parade floats: The tools of the trade

Photo copyright 2012 Ramona Monteros


by Laura Berthold Monteros

A Tournament of Roses Parade float is the epitome of teamwork.

It starts with a sit-down discussion and ends with a unique and stunning yet ephemeral work of art.  A float for the Rose Parade is a combination of a sponsor’s idea, a designer’s concept, an engineer’s calculations, a mechanic’s skill. When they are done, artists in metal, wood, sculpture, paint, and floral design bring in their talents.

Sponsors may have a detailed idea of what they would like on a float, or no idea at all. It’s the job of the float builder and designer to create a concept that will not only be stunningly beautiful or charmingly whimsical, but will work. Considerations include reflecting the theme of the parade, presenting the message of the sponsor in the few seconds a float passes by viewers, weight, height, whether or not there will be animation, and cost. Engineers design systems and mechanics design the engine that will get the float from the barn to post-parade and back.

Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this article!

Metalworkers bend rods and weld them into skeletal sculptures. Screeners put the skin on the skeletons.  Wooden components are built. The float is then sprayed with a fabric cocooning material and foam, which is sculpted into shape. Small sculpted details such as hands are also added. In a sort of paint-by-numbers scheme, areas are lined out and the names of the colors penciled in to match the artist’s rendering. The float is painted and the floral designer, Continue reading “Building Rose Parade floats: The tools of the trade”