I'm an almost-Pasadena girl, from near enough that I grew up hoisted on my Papa's shoulders on many a New Year's Day, watching the Rose Parade.
We never camped out at curbside; Papa had a secret parking place a block-and-a-half from the Colorado Boulevard parade route. The parade came by our vantage point at about quarter to nine, so we'd whiz into Pasadena on deserted streets, park, and be waiting to view by about 8:30.
Viewing is never perfect curbside, although there was some tendency to let the littlest kids sit on the curb, with people arranging themselves backward by height. (These days, in our little town, if we old ladies get a curbside chair, grown men think nothing of muscling through to stand in the street in front of us, oblivious to the fact that they're blocking everyone else's view. Shhh. I plot my revenge.)
I grew up, left for college. I don't think I've been back, but I always try to watch the parade on TV. There was one local LA channel that never broke away for commercials. Commercials are like the grown man who jumps out in front of you just as Roy Rogers rides by.
That's the long way of saying that the Rose Parade defined for me what a float is: a beautiful or whimsical or amazing rolling creation completely covered with flowers and plant material. And what a parade is. Imagine my shock the first time I saw on TV the inflated cartoon figures of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Not a flower in sight. Not a parade, in my view!
Last night I caught the announcement on HGTV that they'd be covering the Rose Parade without commercials. This morning at 8 a.m. I was planted, coffee at hand, in front of my big TV. And it was just stunning. I'd heard that many regular participants had had to pull out due to the poor economy, but you wouldn't have known that from watching it. The flowers, the horses, the flags and banners, the bands -- a riot of color and movement and sound.
I thought of researching online for pictures, but late in the parade I pulled out my camera, zoomed in a little, and shot photos of the TV screen from my comfy chair. These are not fine photos. They're more of an impressionistic color show.
Click (or double-click as case may be) on the first photo to enlarge it, then just skim through them one after another like a slide show.
If I ever go to the Rose Parade again in person, I'll take a tour bus that deposits me at my reserved grandstand seat.
See you soon.