Monday, January 7, 2013

Tournament of Roses - Part 2

In our ticket package, we received a couple sheets of paper with background on the Rose Parade and Frequently Asked Questions. I would like to comment on these here:

“This uniquely American event began as a promotional effort by Pasadena’s distinguished Valley Hunt Club. In the winter of 1890…they invited their former East Coast neighbors to a mid-winter holiday, where they could watch games such as chariot races, jousting, foot races, polo and tug-of-war under the warm California sun.”

This first paragraph baffles me, because (1) When did chariot races and jousting become a uniquely American event? Didn’t the Olympics already exist? And (B) Why would they choose those two particular events in 1890? Were there a lot of unemployed knights riding around Pasadena at that time? Displaced Roman gladiators?

“…a parade would precede the competition, where entrants would decorate their carriages with hundreds of blooms…During the next few years, the festival expanded to include marching bands and motorized floats…”

We jumped from carriages to motorized floats in just a few years!

“…the games on the town lot included ostrich races, bronco busting demonstrations and a race between a camel and an elephant (the elephant won).”

Umm, because ostriches, camels and elephants are so uniquely American? And who the hell would think to race these things? I’ll give them the bronco busting even if I don’t fully approve.


How long does the parade last?
2 hours from any given point.

What time does the parade start?
8:00 a.m.

However, this leaves out important information like what time I have to get up in the morning (before the ass crack of dawn) and how long will it take from the time I get up until the time the parade starts (long enough for Zoe to refuse everything in her boxed breakfast on the shuttle and change bleacher seats sixty-seven times, but not long enough to stand in line for a port-o-pot).

What are the rules and regulations along the Parade route?
Of the 15 listed on the FAQ, here are my favorites.

Overnight camping is permitted only on the night before the parade. Do not arrive before noon the day before the parade.
I just simply cannot fathom camping on a sidewalk on New Year’s Eve in the middle of downtown Pasadena.

Small, professionally manufactured barbecues elevated at least one foot off the ground are allowed on the parade route.
My family would never be able to follow this rule as a “professionally manufactured barbecue” is an oxymoron to them. Barbecues are meant to be welded together in the comfort of your backyard.

Do not bring tents, sofas, ladders, scaffolding and boxes of any type.
What is this world coming to when you can’t bring your scaffolding to a parade (which incidentally, my family does own)?

Walking in the street is not permitted.
Ummm….isn’t that what a parade is, by definition?

Prohibited items along the Rose Parade route include: weapons, sticks, poles, glass bottles and any items which may cause injury or interfere with the parade or spectators’ enjoyment of the parade.
Wow! That’s particularly vague. My brothers often interfere with my enjoyment of most things.

What exactly is the Tournament of Roses Parade?
That is, for real, on the FAQ sheet. I am not making that up. Although I find it interesting that one of the bullet points suggested it was patterned after the “Battle of Flowers” in Nice, France. So much for being “uniquely American.”

All in good fun, Pasadena. The floats are phenomenal and if you actually read the whole FAQ you learn that the Tournament of Roses pays the city $1.2 million to cover the costs and each year the Foundation gives $100,000 to community programs throughout the area totally more than $2 million since its inception in 1983.

You also would know that the entire surface of the float must be covered using a variety of flowers, seeds, bark, leaves, and other natural material. But we didn’t see any covered in hemp. Maybe next year.
And this is where I thank my parents for their extreme generosity and patience in planning this family trip. I think my dad was on the phone every day in December discussing logistics with someone. And often raising his blood pressure.
Morgan’s favorite float: Cat in the Hat
Zoe’s favorite float: she referred to it as “Bambi” but it was the one with all the wildlife animals on it

Scott and I sat on opposite ends of our group at the parade and later he asked me how I managed to contain myself when I saw the Grand Marshal of the parade. To which I replied I never could hear who it was.

It was Jane Goodall! Jane Fucking Goodall! Only the most-admired person of my whole entire life! Luckily I took a picture, even though I couldn’t really see anything other than that beautiful gray ponytail. I’m sure it would have been the same feeling that Zoe got when we arrived at The American Girl Place.

To be continued…

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