Behind the Scenes: Rose Parade

I’ve sometimes hopped on Amtrak in Albuquerque, on December 30th, at 5 in the evening, arrived in Los Angeles the next morning, the 31st by 7:30, then taken the $5 Gold Line to Pasadena, walked to my parade-viewing site, set up camp in Colorado Blvd. by 9:30,  and enjoyed the sunny rest of the day.

That night, the fun begins: whipped cream and shaving cream pies on tortillas & paper plates being tossed by cars and parade watchers at each other in fun, great family and food gatherings (I always look for families from Mexico to hang out with: they’re warm, fun, and we share food); street dancing, then the hunkering down (no tents allowed) to sleep on the side street before the parade beings.  But it’s the AFTER parade float viewing where ya get to see the insides of the floats, up close:

For $15, a guy can purchase a ticket to either the pre-parade or post-parade float viewing. Sharp Seating is the on line venue, and yes, it is wise to buy in advance, rather than that day. Free shuttles run from the end of the parade route (so that’s where I generally sleep the night before) to a city park where the floats are parked, bumper-to-bumper, for viewing.  And smelling.

Be prepared for a long line. But I carry my same folding chair with me that I used in the parade, water & hiking snacks, my gym bag with sleeping bag and air mattress either stowed somewhere safe for later retrieval or slung on my back.  It’s not for everyone, but seeing this stuff up close is like totally amazing. Well worth it to me. The engineering and technology and motors and frames and driving shafts and interior control panels…. every bit as impressive as the placement of tiny poppy seeds and corn husks and oranges and roses and coffee beans and… Well, you get it.

Seeing this up close and personal is, well, worth the lines, the 15 bucks, and the long trip back on Amtrak that night.

But there’s an alternative way to nearly replicate this experience: record the parade. We watch the “No-Commercials” version straight thru on the Home and Garden Channel.  But I tape the parade also on ABC. Then later, after the games, food, and daylight have transpired, I go back, and with remote in hand, watch those horses, bands, and floats again – this time with the “pause” feature. I get commentary that’s every bit as good if not better, than actually being at the side of those floats.

Plus, there’s no long train ride afterwards. Enjoy the Rose Parade!

Be Well, Do Good.

4 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes: Rose Parade”

  1. I love the Rose Parade!

    I grew up in Southern California and had a great aunt who lived in Pasadena and worked on one of the floats.
    We would get to help attach petals, leaves, and whatever plant material was being used. And then there was the parade – both experiences were simply magical.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and the great photos!

  2. Genia Rasmussen

    Thanks for sharing this , Chuck! And more so thanks for staying here but which also meant you missed one of your favorite experiences!
    Love you!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *