Did you watch the Rose Parade this year?
Did you see me in the background on TV? I was right there with close to one million other people.
Did you see the dragon float? The dragon blew smoke out of his nose!
I grew up in the foothills above Los Angeles, not all that far from Pasadena. The Rose Parade has been a part of my life always. Even as an adult, it's still magical to me. Maybe more so now, because I know how much work and effort goes into each float and the parade as a whole.
When you watch the parade from home, you get close up shots of each float. You get the stories behind them too. In many ways, it's absolutely better to watch from home.
There's a certain magic to being at the Rose Parade in person though.
For example, only by being there could I discover how hysterically funny The Poop Patrol (as Briefcase dubbed them) could be.
Every time there were horses in the parade, a crew of Poop Patrol-ers followed. One crew, in particular, was quite entertaining. They were a comedy team all of their own and kept stopping to pose for photos. They provided, hands down, the funniest moments of the parade. (Yes, I did quietly wonder what drugs/alcohol they might have gotten their hands on before scooping poop for the day.)
Briefcase and I arrived before dawn. We had a reserved parking spot in a nearby garage. (Very smart of us, by the way!)
The outside temperature was around 38F/3.33C which is really cold for Southern California. We stayed in the car for quite awhile to stay warm. Briefcase slept, I sipped on coffee. Eventually we shared a peanut butter and jelly sandwich we had packed for breakfast.
As the sun rose, we ventured out into the cold (!) where thousands of people were already set-up to watch the parade. People camp out ahead of time for days, and many people arrive on New Year's Eve – staying all night to stake out their spots along the parade route.
These people were outside all night. They're crazy brave!
There's a sense of camraderie among parade-goers.
As an aside: Briefcase grew up on the east coast. He supervised my clothing for the day – making me LAYER clothes, loaning me one of his old jackets, and digging out a pair of gloves for me to wear. We've been married forever and he's still shocked at my lack of knowledge regarding cold weather. (He's also still shocked at what I consider to be cold weather – anything below 70F/21C.) I guess he did a good job prepping me though because I wasn't cold during the parade and I actually peeled off a layer or two of clothing after awhile.
I know many of you already watched the floats on TV, which is why I'm trying to give you a feel for things you probably didn't see on TV.
For instance, these guys:
By the way, at the end of the day, I witnessed the police ticketing several people with food carts for not having any proper licenses. I think a lot of people were out just trying to make a buck for the day. Some of the food being offered up for sale looked a lot scarier than what the above gentleman was selling.
I've got a few more sneak peeks of behind the scenes stuff to share in upcoming posts.
For today, I'll close with another float photo. The American Native, below, was a work of art. I don't think there's a photo that could possibly do it justice. Every bit of his face, head, and headress is made of some type of plant material. The amount of effort that went into making him is just astounding.
The finished product was stunning.
© Twenty Four At Heart