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Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California 

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The Tournament of Roses Parade, also known as the Rose Parade, is a celebration that commemorates the New Year held in Pasadena, California. The first Rose Parade was held in 1890 hosted by the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club. It was a celebration not only to bring in the New Year, but also to show the rest of the world the paradise that Pasadena was. It is always held on January 1st, unless the 1st falls on a Sunday, then it is moved to the subsequent Monday. This is because back when the parade started, horses were the main transportation in Pasadena. To avoid disturbing church services by scaring horses, the event was moved to Mondays or off of the day of worship. While the North East and West were covered in snow, the areas surrounding Pasadena were flourishing with beautiful colors of roses and other flowers along with oranges and other fruits. After only five years of holding the parade, and the inception of motorized floats and marching bands, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association was formed due to the increase in popularity of the event. During the parade, floats are decorated with flowers and organic material to honor the tradition of why the event started. At its beginning, the event hosted a plethora of activities and attractions including polo matches, foot races, and even a chariot race. With all these activities came the name “Tournament of Roses” giving the event almost a medieval fair feel. The chariot race was replaced with the Rose Bowl, a traditional football game held on the same day of the fair. The Rose Bowl was added to the Tournament of Roses Parade in 1902 to supplement income to the developing and running of the parade which now caters to anywhere between 700,000 to 1,000,000 people each year.

The parade itself consists of the beautiful floats, with the entire exterior being decorated in natural, organic material including plants, seeds, flowers, grasses, seaweed, fruits, vegetables and other organic items. Also in the parade are equestrian groups including the All American Cowgirl Chicks, Arizona Mini Mystique Driving Drill Team, the Cowgirls Historical Foundation, USMC – Mountain Warfare Training, the Valley Hunt Club, The Shire Riders and many more. An “Equestfest” is held before the parade to show off the abilities of these beautiful horses and the different riding teams. Also found in the parade are some of the best marching bands and musicians from all over the world from different organizations and colleges and even high schools. Some bands that frequent the parade are the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band, the Los Angeles Unified School District Honor Band, The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Marching Band, and the USMC West Coast Composite Band. Some of these bands have developed their own traditions in the parade. A tradition that continues every year is the selection of the Herald Trumpets. It is made up of nine of the best trumpet players from area schools around Pasadena and one snare drummer; this drummer is the best in the area as well. The Herald Trumpets march before the Rose Queen’s float and are a staple in the parade. Being selected for the Herald Trumpets is an honor in the parade.

The parade is televised on some of the biggest networks in the country including ABC, NBC, HGTV, RDF TV, The Travel Channel, Univision, and just recently the Hallmark Channel. ABC owns the contract for the official coverage of the parade but cannot stop anyone else from covering the event due to it being a public parade. The coverage of this amazing parade is not limited to the US; it was viewed in 127 countries in 2010 and the website was viewed in 150 countries. This parade follows tradition year after year and is adored by hundreds of thousands year after year. It is a sign that the New Year is here and good times will follow!


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