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Tournament Roses New Year Parade Pasadena California

Tournament Roses New Year Parade Pasadena California

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Tournament of Roses - New Year's Day Parade In Pasadena, California

The Rose Bowl History


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Perhaps one of America's most important or at least most popular annual festivities is The Tournament of Roses Parade, a 117-year-old tradition held on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California. However, I've never given any thought to why it was such a big deal. Even growing up, I remember televisions set to the channel to see the floats, but I was never told why. Why roses, why Pasadena and why on New Years day when the parade doesn't really have anything to do with the New Year?

I want this year to be different. As one of my New Years Resolutions to learn more about things that energize my curiosity, I took the time to find out the what, why and how Tournament of Roses came to be the most popular annual festivities of America.

The year was 1890 and I must admit, I was expecting a bit more of a grand motivational commencement for the 1st Tournament of Roses which was founded by members of Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club. The members were former residents of the East Coast and Midwest and were eager to exhibit their new home's mild winter weather.

History»» has recorded Professor Charles F. Holder as saying "In New York, people are buried in snow," Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise."

...And that is the humble beginnings of the Tournament of Roses. Neighbors proud of their new surroundings, wanted to display they're
Californian cooperative spirit with a festival parade of flower-decorated horses and buggies and an afternoon of public games. The parade bow wowwas to resemble the West Coast's vision of the festival of roses in Nice, France.

After the Parade, young men competed in a variety of foot races, tugs of war, jousts and a tourney of rings - an old Spanish game in which mounted horsemen, each carrying a 12-foot lance, try to spear three rings hung about thirty feet apart while riding at top speed. The tourney of rings, joined with the floral exhibit prompted Professor Holder, the first president, to say at a Roses meeting, "Now we have the name we want, The Tournament of Roses." More than 2,000 people attended the first Tournament of Roses.

In 1895, the Tournament of Roses Association was formed to oversee the management»»of the festival, which had grown too large for the Valley Hunt Club to handle. Since the association's first establishment, they have been in charge of orchestrating the monumental event ever since. During the next few years, the parade and festival»» expanded to include ostrich races, bronco busting demonstrations and a race between a camel and an elephant (the elephant won).

Timeline Summery


In 1898 the Tournament of Roses received their first major coverage when East Coast media traveled across the distance to give first hand commentary of the Rose Parade.

Two years later, the first motion picture»» of the Rose Parade is produced by the Vitascope Company. Even though the Rose Parade was screened days, weeks and even months later, this was the first time that the parade was seen "live" by audiences throughout the United States.

1901 was the first year that motorized vehicles»» were allowed as float entries. Back than motorized vehicles seemed nothing more than a luxury toy like item for those who could afford it. Since there was little enthusiasm for the autos, they were forced to appear at the rear of the Parade so as not to scare the horses.

In 1902, the Tournament of Roses decided to enhance the day's festivities by adding a football game at Tournament Park. This was to be the first post season college football game ever held. However, when Stanford University creamed the University of Michigan with an unflattering 49-0 score... the Tournament of Roses Association gave up football in favor of Roman-style chariot races inspired by the best-selling book Ben Hur. Football didn't return until 1916.

The first Rose Queen was Hallie Woods in 1905 from Pasadena High School.

The era of spectacular floats»» began in 1908 with a 41-foot whale that spouted carnation scented perfume 25 feet in the air; an 86-foot orange; and a 35-foot airship.

Catherine Wright was the first woman to pilot a float in 1916. She drove Eagle Rock's entry.

1918 marked the first official Rose Parade theme. Patriotism Parade spectators numbers reach 250,000 and Pasadenans enjoy 86-degree weather on New Year's Day.

Remember those luxury motorized vehicle toy like items? 1920 marked the end of the horse-drawn era as motor-driven floats, powered by electric and gasoline engines, took over completely.

William L. Leishman, the Tournament's 1920 President, envisioned a stadium comparable to the Yale Bowl. Tournament of Roses volunteers raise»» $272,298 to fund the stadium and the first football game was in 1923.

1926 - First local radio broadcast»» of the Rose Bowl Game, announced by Pasadena sportswriter and ex-Olympic track star Charlie Paddock.

1927 - Czechoslovakia is the first foreign government to enter the Parade. First national radio broadcast of Rose Bowl Game.


1932 - First short-wave radio broadcast of the Rose Parade. The broadcast is heard internationally.

1935 - Commercial floats enter the Parade for the first time. Santa Barbara's float demonstrates technological progress»» with a floral portrayal of seven peacocks that turned from side to side which was operated by seven different men inside a 65-foot-long float. They manipulated the moving birds and were in continual communication via built-in telephones.

On the 50th Anniversary of the Rose Parade, the youngest Grand Marshal ever presides over the Parade, it was Shirley Temple.

1950 - The Rose Bowl Game becomes the first bowl game to have 100,000 spectators in attendance.

1968 - First live international satellite feed of Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game to other parts of the world.

1987 - President Reagan signs legislation making the rose America's national flower.

The Tournament of Roses has come a long way since its early days. The Rose Parade's elaborate floats now feature high-tech computerized animation and exotic natural materials from around the world. Although a few floats are still built exclusively by volunteers from their sponsoring communities, most are built by professional float building companies and take nearly a year to construct. The year-long effort pays off on New Year's morning, when millions of viewers around the world enjoy the Rose Parade.

2007 The force will be with the Rose Bowl


GEEKS Unit!

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The Rose Bowl Parade will welcome none other than George Lucas himself as Grand Marshall. This honor coincides with a massive gathering of the 501st Stormtroopers unit for participation in the parade. This 200 fan march has been in the works long before the announcement of Lucas for Grand Marshal. At Comic-Con International, George Lucas announced two Star Wars floats, one of Ewoks and another graced with the splendor of Star Wars world Naboo, would be in the parade in recognition of Star Wars 30th anniversary. The theme of this year's Rose Bowl Parade is "Our Good Nature."

The Rose Bowl Time line has an array of stunning photography»» from the earliest parades to the present.

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