January 2, 2012 - Tournament of Roses Parade Day

I grew up in Pasadena, California, home of the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl. Every year on January 1st, from 1890 on, bands have marched and played, equestrian groups have high-stepped, and flower-covered floats have glided down Colorado Boulevard, traveling about five-and-a-half miles (9 km).

Whoops! Did I say every January 1? You may have noticed that today is not January 1. Whenever New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, the parade is held on the following Monday.

Today's parade will feature 43 floats, 21 bands, and 18 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses. Hundreds of thousands of people will watch along the parade route, and millions more will watch the parade on TV in more than 200 nations and territories around the world.

  • Check out this video of some of the greats of Rose Parade floats.
  • Watch some videos on making a float, starting with this one. You can find more in this series, but here's one that gave some nice close-ups of the flowers being used.  
  • Last but not least, this and this other time-lapse videos show building floats in just under a minute!

Floats are covered by many sorts of natural plant
materials -- not just flowers, but also bark, seeds,
and even whole fruit such as these grapefruits.

Also on this date:

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