Tournament of the Roses Parade in Pasadena California

Tournament of the Roses Parade in Pasadena California

Tournament of Roses top facts

Each new year, thousands of spectators line the Rose Parade route  in Pasadena, California to enjoy a two-hour parade of magnificent floral floats, talented marching bands and a unique  spectacle  starting early at  8  am.

The Tournament of Roses produces the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game (it is the annual American college football bowl game)

Fun facts  about the Tournament of Roses:

How many real flowers are used every year  on the floats in the parade in Pasadena ?  

18 million of fresh flowers 

Do you wonder where a float driver sits?

Float drivers typically can’t see in front of them and therefore rely on an “observer” to act as their eyes. The observer usually sits at the front of the float and has visibility through a small screen. The float driver and the observer then communicate by headset as they complete the parade route. The float driver can also follow a red line painted on Orange Grove Blvd. as guidance.

How many times has it rained on the parade?

Ten times: 1895, 1899, 1906, 1910, 1916, 1922, 1934, 1937, 1955 and 2006.

How many contestants try out to be a member of the Rose Court?

In recent history, more than 1,100 try out each year.

Who is the most famous Rose Queen?

2000 Rose Queen Sophia Bush is an actress now appearing (appeared) in the CW series “One Tree Hill.”

What year was the first Rose Queen chosen? Who was she?

1905: Hallie Woods.

How many people watched the first Rose Parade?

2,000 but the number has increased and many folks line along the way watching as well. 

How long was that first parade?

Parade officials don’t know for sure, but estimate it was two miles long.

How long will the parade be this year?

5.5 miles.

What materials are used to create the floats?

A steel frame is constructed to give the float its shape and strength and is then placed over some sort of propulsion mechanism. After that, the float is cocooned or sprayed with foam that hardens and is painted in the colors of the flowers that it will hold. Dried materials like bark, seeds and other organic materials are applied first. The live flowers are not put on the float until a few days before the parade. All of the live flowers are kept in vials of water to keep them fresh.

How much glue is used on all the floats?

Over 5,000 gallons.

How many tons of steel are used to build the floats?

600 tons and even more.

How many floats are awarded trophies each year in Pasadena?

25 floats

How many horses are in the parade every year?

300 horses 

What is the most-played song of the bands?

“Everything’s Coming up Roses.” Naturally. 

Which band has been in the parade the most times?

The Salvation Army Band. It has marched in every parade since 1920.

Who has been a grand marshal more than once?

Four people: Bob Hope (1947 and 1969), President Richard Nixon (1953 and 1960), Earl Warren (1943 and 1955) and Shirley Temple Black (1939, 1989 and 1999).

What has been the average temperature in Pasadena on parade day?

68 degrees.

Has there ever been a year without a parade?

In 1942. The Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, and the government advised organizers not to hold the parade for reasons of national security. Queen Dolores Jean Brubach and her court drove quietly down Colorado Boulevard past a few pedestrians on the all-but deserted street.

Sixteen members of the Tournament of Roses band formed a “V for Victory” and marched down Colorado Boulevard playing military songs and singing “Stout-Hearted Men.” The tournament’s committee members and city administrators gathered at a luncheon at the Huntington Hotel. On display were 33 miniatures of floats that would have been in the parade.

How many people work on the parade?

The 935 tournament members log about 80,000 volunteer hours a year planning and operating the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. That number does not include the many volunteers who assist the float builders with decorating floats.

How many people watch the parade in person?

About 700,000.

How many people watch the parade on TV?

About 51.9 million people in the U.S. watched the 2010 Rose Parade. It is also broadcast to more than 220 countries and territories outside of the U.S.

How many spectators attended last year’s Rose Bowl Game?


How many out-of-town guests arrive for the parade?


What is the estimate of the parade’s total dollar impact on Southern California?

$400 million.

How much does the Tournament of Roses Foundation donate annually to nonprofit organizations?

The Tournament of Roses Foundation, a nonprofit corporation created in 1983 by the Tournament of Roses Assn. to receive contributions from its members, supporters, and the general public, makes annual grants to nonprofit organizations in the Pasadena area. The donations fund sports and recreation, visual and performing arts, and leadership development programs.

Are roses being usually the star of the show? 

Yes, but more than just roses are used for decorating this legendary  float! Visitors  can also see a lot of other flowers and plant parts covering the floats, too. Orchids, carnations, and irises are among some of the other commonly used blooms. Float designers are permitted to decorate with pretty much any natural material, though, so you may notice leaves, seeds, bark, and even fruits and veggies being put to creative use. This year, participants are including elements like coconut, seaweed, moss, chickpeas, and rice alongside fresh flowers to bring their floats to life.

Donations: To date, the Tournament of Roses Foundation has donated more than $2 million to more than 130 organizations. In 2010, these grant awards totaled $100,375 and ranged from $1,957 to $8,400 per organization. The average grant award was $5,018.

History of the first Tournament of Roses:

The first Tournament of Roses was staged back in 1890 in Pasadena  in southern California. During the next few years, the celebration expanded to include marching bands and sophisticated motorized floats followed by organized  games on the town lot  including  ostrich races, bronco busting demonstrations and a race between a camel and an elephant .

Reviewing stands were added  along the Pasadena Parade route east-west. Local media noticed and embraced this prestigious event contributing to its endless fame.

In 1902, the Tournament of Roses administration added a football game  to enhance the new year’s celebration  and   festivities. Pasadena’s  new sophisticated and giant  stadium hosted its first New Year’s football game back in 1923 and soon earned the nickname “The Rose Bowl.”

The prestigious Tournament of Roses has come a long way since its early days. Today, the Rose Parade festivities are more sophisticated, and floats are more elaborated featuring  high-tech computerized animation and exotic natural materials from around the world. This parade is broadcast on multiple television networks, watched by upwards of   millions of  spectators  all over the world.

Parade: The Tournament of Roses Parade has faithfully followed its early and historic route. The five-and-a-half mile famous Rose Parade route begins at the corner of Ellis Street and Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena. The Parade travels north on Orange Grove at a leisurely 2.5-mile per hour following their traced and colorful lines painted on the main streets. The Parade pace and then turns east onto Colorado Boulevard  the hot spot of the Parade where Televisions and VIP  viewers are stationed. 

These seats require 6 months to a one-year reservation in advance where much of the Parade takes place. The Rose Bowl Parade travels along Colorado Boulevard through the Historic route 66 and Pasadena for long miles where every single spot is taken by local and international visitors. The Rose Bowl Parade then turns north onto Sierra Madre Boulevard passing highway 210  and ends at Sierra Madre and Villa Street, in the eastern part of Pasadena.

The Rose Parade features three types of entries: floral floats entered by a participating corporation or community organization; equestrian units; and marching bands. The only cars that appear in the Rose Parade are those that carry the Grand Marshal, the Mayor of Pasadena, and the Tournament of Roses President. Many of the Rose Parade’s participating organizations have a long history with the Tournament of Roses and have made repeated appearances in the Parade.

Floats:  Impressive and highly sophisticated floral Floats designed by an army of volunteers  from sponsoring local, national, or international communities. However,  most of these floral Floats  are built by professional sponsored by  companies who is seeking to promote their culture or business to the millions of audiences watching this prestigious event.

Traditionally, 1 to 3 days prior the Rose Bowl Parade, curious visitors can view several of the floats being decorated with flowery mantles and different themes. Each float is represented by the upcoming marching bands and the team who oversees each float.

Join our Rose Bowl Parade tour to explore the secret of these floral Floats while been decorated!

After the parade, all these floral  floats  are  gathered at the end of the parade  route  from Colorado Boulevard  to  the Sierra Madre Blvd and  Victory Park to be publicly displayed for 2 days. Admittance to the viewing used to be free, but a fee  has  been recently  instituted.

Equestrians: Horses have always been a major player of the tournament of the roses since  the beginning . Every year, new professional equestrians who come to share the magic of New Year’s Day and appreciate the commitment to excellence and professionalism exhibited along the Colorado Boulevard and celebrated all over the world through the Media.

Prior to the rose bowl parade, an “Equestfest” is held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center to showcase the great performances by the amazing and talented riding teams. To performances were the  First Cavalry Division U.S. Army Fort Hood, Clydesdales, “Traveler”-USC mascot, Sons and Daughters of the Reel West and the California State Fire Fighters Association have been .

Every year, a new president is elected for the Tournament of Roses. One of his duties is to come up with a new theme for the forthcoming celebrations and  festivities. Most of the volunteers and professionals get inspired by this theme as they decorate their floral floats to feature on January 1 marching floats.

Some of the most common themes that have been picked up since the creation of  the Tournament of Roses are :  States and  Nations in Flowers, Passport to the World’s Celebrations, Poems in Flowers, Tales of the Seven Seas, Dreams in Flowers, Golden Legends,  Romance in Flowers, America in Flowers, Holidays Around the World, Wonderful World of Adventure, Around the World in Flowers and Ballads in Blossom

Bands: Top school and college marching bands from all over the US and  world are invited to The Tournament of Roses. The Tournament of Roses Honor Band is a coveted position, and those selected are among the best student musicians. University Marching bands from the two schools participating in the Rose Bowl are invited to march in the parade. They typically accompany the float that represents their school.

Also, the Tournament sponsors BandFest, where the selected bands perform field shows at the City College Stadium over two days.

President and Grand Marshal: Every year, a new president is elected and a new Grand Marshal to administrate the Rose Parade. These positions are filled by  some of the world’s most distinguished figures  for such honorable position. Past Grand Marshals have included actors, astronauts, writers, artists, athletes, and political figures.

2008 Rose Queen & Royal Court: A place of honor is reserved in each Rose Parade  for the float carrying the Royal Court. Every September nearly 1,000 young women vie for the honor of riding that float – participating in a month-long interview process designed to find those participants with the right combination of poise, personality, public speaking ability and scholastic achievement.

When it is all over, a Rose Queen and six Rose Princesses will reign over the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game . They will attend nearly 150 public and media functions during their year in the spotlight, spreading the word about the Tournament and Pasadena wherever they go.

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