Tournament of Roses celebrities and Salvation Army Band in 2017 Rose Parade

A special honor went to retiring Executive Director/CEO Bill Flinn with a ride in a 1936 Packard Phaeton, one of only 10 made in the last year of production. Floral designers chose reds and hot pinks to contrast the silver finish.


by Laura Berthold Monteros

Celebrities are not a big part of the Tournament of Roses Parade. Some float sponsors have celebrity riders, of course, but the Tournament itself generally only has four: Grand Marshal, Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees, Pasadena Mayor, and TOR President. The 128th Rose Parade had a whole slew of them, with three Grand Marshals, each in her/his own car, and retiring Executive Director/CEO Bill Flinn followed by his beloved Salvation Army Band added to the usual subjects.

All the cars were decorated by FTD floral designers J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and Peter Samek, AIFD. We wrote up the parade appearances of the Grand Marshals and Pres. Brad Ratliff with his 20 mules with great photos of the people and rides. Check out the photo gallery below for the rest of the 2017 Rose Parade celebrities.

The late Tommy Prothro has the distinction of being one of the few men who played in the only Rose Bowl Game not played in the Rose Bowl Stadium. This year is the 75th anniversary of the 1942 game, which was moved to Durham, N.C. following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

A rare special entry underscored the appreciation the Tournament of Roses has for Bill Flinn. He joined the TOR as Director of Public Relations and over the years advanced through the ranks to Executive Director/CEO. He is credited with bringing the B-2 flyover to the Rose Parade. Flinn led the professional staff that supports the 935 Tournament volunteers and works with the media. He has received many awards and recognitions, including induction into the International Festival and Events Association’s World Hall of Fame.

He has been admitted to the Order of the Founder, The Salvation Army’s highest international recognition for excellence in volunteer service, and is the conductor of the 42 member Pasadena Tabernacle Band. It is fitting that The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band accompanied his journey down the Rose Parade route.


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