Even after 100 years, a Rose Queen is forever at Pasadena Museum of History

Pres. Brad Ratliff with the 99th Queen of the Tournament of Roses, Victoria “Tori” Cecilia Castellanos.

UPDATE: Pasadena Museum of History is pleased to extend the Blue Star Museums program offer of free admission to active duty personnel for the new exhibition Royals of Pasadena, which opened to the public Labor Day weekend. It is on view noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays through Feb. 11, 2018.


by Laura Berthold Monteros

On Jan. 1, 2018, the 100th Rose Queen will ride a spectacular new float along Colorado Blvd. in the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade. In anticipation of this historic happening, Pasadena Museum of History is presenting an exhibit featuring crowns and gowns of past Rose Queens, including the one Margaret Huntley Main wore in the 1940 parade. Queen Margaret is the most senior living Rose Queen, the author of A Rose Queen Is Forever, and co-founder of the Queens Club with Sally Stanton Rubsamen.

“Royals of Pasadena,” runs from Sept. 2, 2017 through Feb. 11, 2018, so folks in town for the Tournament of Roses can plan a visit to PMH. In addition to stunning gowns by William Cahill and Tadashi Shoji, jewel-encrusted crowns of the past century are on loan from the signature sponsor Tournament of Roses. Photos and ephemera documenting this Pasadena tradition will be displayed, as well as daywear, accessories, and jewelry from the Court wardrobes, on loan from former members of the Royal Court. The exhibit will explore the traditions and history of the Royal Court, from the selection process to riding on a float in the Rose Parade.

A tidbit of history here: The upcoming parade will be the 129th, but the queen who will be chosen on Oct. 20 is only the 100th. Why is that? The answer is at the end of this article.

Royal Court fans will want to mark the grand opening of “Royals of Pasadena” on their calendars. On Sunday, Sept. 17 from 1 to 4 p.m., PMH will offer free admission to the exhibit, with lots of activities for all ages.

  • Meet members of past courts
  • Collect autographs in your own book or a free souvenir keepsake
  • Create a crown, tiara, or royal sash at a craft workshop
  • Enjoy complimentary light refreshments

Meanwhile, check out these queenly stories:


Pasadena Museum of History

470 W. Walnut St. at Orange Grove, Pasadena

Phone: (626)577-1660

Regular hours: Noon to 5  p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays

Admission: $7 general; $6 students and seniors; free for museum members and children under 12

Support for “Royals of Pasadena” is provided by signature sponsor Pasadena Tournament of Roses and French Hand Laundry, McGregor Shott, Inc., Sharp Seating Company, and Mike Sumner Painting.

Answer: Though the first Rose Parade was held in 1890, the first queen, Hallie Woods, was not chosen until 1905. After that, queens and courts appeared sporadically. The first Rose Queen in an unbroken line of queens was Holly Halsted Balthis, 1930. She stayed in touch with the Tournament of Roses and her successors to the crown. Queen Holly passed away in 2004 at the age of 95.