The Tournament of Roses is an American institution that Southern California can claim as its own. But instead of New Year’s Day, this year’s Rose Parade will take place on Monday, Jan. 2 with the fitting theme of “Never On Sunday.” Founders decreed back in 1893 that the parade would never be staged on a Sunday (and it never has), because they feared the festivities might scare the horses hitched outside of churches. Horses have made way for cars as a mode of transport, but the tradition remains.
Southern California residents can get a pre-parade peek at the floats by helping with the decorating. To get all the floats ready for the parade, volunteers are enlisted from Dec. 27-31 to help apply the finishing floral touches. Learn more at www.tournamentofroses.com/events/float-decorating. From Dec. 29-31, the public can also visit several of the parade’s Decoration Places: Brookside Pavilion at the Rose Bowl, Rosemont Pavilion (700 Seco St., Pasadena) and the Rose Palace (835 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena). Tickets cost $10 and are free for ages 5 and younger.
Marching bands probably rank second behind the floats as the parade’s most prominent entries. To tune up, the bands practice Dec. 30-31, and the public can attend this Bandfest at Pasadena City College’s Robinson Stadium (1570 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena). There are sessions at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 30 and 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Dec. 31. Bandfest tickets are $15 for those ages 6 and older.
Once the parade is over, the fun continues with the Showcase of Floats Jan. 2-3. Around 50 floats will be parked along Washington and Sierra Madre boulevards in Pasadena from 1-4 p.m. Jan. 2 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 3, and it is quite cool (although frequently quite crowded, too) to walk around the floats and get a close-up look at them. Tickets cost $13 for ages 6 and older.
Tickets for all of these events can be purchased at www.sharpseating.com, where you can also find parking information.