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The Rose Parade in Pasadena, New Year 2007 · Read More · View Rose Parade 2
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The Rose Parade in Pasadena, Ca USA,

The Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, USA, is a world famous New Year's day event.  The premiere float building company is Phoenix Decorating (13 of their 21 entries won awards), who graciously allowed me to shoot in the Rosemont Pavilion (their main float construction building) where 11 of their largest floats were in the final phases of construction.  Thanks and a tip of the hat to both Bill Lofthouse, the company owner, and Mike H.

In the weeks leading up to the event there's a beehive of activity in constructing and testing the floats.  In the week preceding the parade an army of volunteers begins covering each float completely in natural (i.e., organic) material.  Meanwhile the same thing is taking place at all of the other float construction companies (and private groups) with entries in the upcoming parade.  Two days before the parade, while the floats are still in the final stages of completion, the 1st round of judging begins.  Later that night the floats are finished and rolled outside for a "stand up" test.  All of the over-height floats must be able to fold down to less than 23' 6" to allow them to pass under the freeway overpass, both on the way to the parade staging area and then again after the parade is over (when they all to go Victory Park where they'll be on static display for the next 3 days).  After a successful stand-up test all of the intricate mechanisms of the floats (virtually every float in the parade is animated in some way, e.g., motion, sound, fire, water, etc.) are tested to insure that they'll preform flawlessly on the morning of the parade.  After everything is good to go they stay outside that night and the following day (the day before the parade) the final judging takes place.  In the middle of the night on New Year's Eve every entry in the parade (e.g., floats, horse-drawn carriages, cars, etc.) are pre-positioned in the parade staging area.  The next morning everything begins to come alive as all of the floats are brought online, the people who are going to ride on them take their places on the floats, the marching bands arrive (this is literally hundreds and hundreds of people in just the bands) and take their places in line and the horses are harnessed to whatever they'll be pulling.  Then they all wait for the final signal to begin their march up Colorado Boulevard through the heart of Pasadena.  This year the parade was kicked of with a low-level flyby of a B-2 Spirit stealth bomber with 2 F-22 Raptor stealth fighters on its wingtips.  It was spectacular as they roared down Colorado Boulevard a mere 500' off the deck (the crowd went wild!).  Well over 1 million people lined the parade route this year.

The parade itself is 5.5 miles long and takes approximately 2 hours to complete that distance (this doesn't include the distance from the staging area to the start of the parade or the distance from the end of the parade to Victory Park).

These 2 panoramas are of the American Honda's entry in the 118th annual Rose Parade.  The 1st one is just prior to the 1st round of judging on Saturday night and the 2nd one is while it was moving down Colorado Boulevard during the parade.  Although not show here both of the dragons breathed fire (the bursts of flame shot well over 10' out of their mouths).

Photographer © 2007 Pat Swovelin

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