So you’ve decided 2011 is the year you will come to the Rose Parade and see it in person. If you’ve never done so, you will be amazed at how much better it is close up. The colors are more vibrant, the intricate floral work more visible, the bands crisper, and you actually get to wave at the people who are riding in the parade.
Getting through a crowd of an estimated one million people can sound pretty daunting, but if you’re prepared everything should go relatively smoothly. Here are some tips:
Take warm clothing: Yes, it is Southern California and the late morning can get pretty warm, but it’s cold in the morning, especially in the shade or on the south side of the street. Dress in layers so you can strip down as it warms up.
When to get there: The parade starts at Orange Grove just south of Colorado Blvd. promptly at 8 a.m. It takes about two hours for the parade to get to the post-parade area on Sierra Madre Blvd. and Villa St. Generally, if you get to the route a half hour before the parade does, you should be able to find a place to stand. An hour is better. You may have to do a bit of walking to find a place.
Allow enough time: A good rule of thumb is to allow at least twice as much time travel as you normally would. As you get closer to the route, the time increases exponentially. A 10-minute drive can easily become 40 minutes.
Get a map: A map of the route is a great help in avoiding road closures. The Automobile Club of Southern California has the most informative and easiest to read map. The Pasadena branch is on Union Street just west of Lake Avenue. A pdf map from the Tournament of Roses website is here.
You can’t tell the players without a program: Programs are sold on the street for $7.00, but it’s fun to pick one up ahead of time. Many stores in Pasadena carry programs a week or so prior to the parade. The Pasadena Star-News prints a guide called “The Rose” which is available in stores and also inserted into the newspaper.
Food and beverages: All vendors are required to be licensed in order to work the Rose Parade route, so food and beverages you purchase should be safe. You may want to bring your own hot chocolate, coffee or tea, though to keep your tummy warm.
Don’t bring contraband: Weapons, sticks, poles, glass bottles, alcoholic beverages, ladders and any items which may cause injury or interfere with the Parade or spectators’ enjoyment of the Parade.
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What about that attendance estimate? While the Tournament insists one million is an accurate number, estimates by mathematicians are much smaller. The Los Angeles Times reported an attendance of 700,000 for the 2009 parade and was taken to task. Caltech researchers say it is impossible to pack one million people along the route, and a researcher at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory chimed in with what he considered to be a very generous estimate of a maximum 512,000 people.
So it isn’t so daunting, after all!
The theme of the 122nd Rose Parade and 97th Rose Bowl Game is “Building Dreams, Friendships and Memories.” The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter, with the high points being the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game on January 1. Keep following your Tournament of Roses Examiner for the latest news and for upcoming announcements.
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