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Pasadena Doo Dah Parade celebrates its 38th year

Pasadena Doo Dah Parade celebrates its 38th year
Nancy Urbach, also known as Queen Narayana, practices her belly dancing moves at her Pasadena home in November 2014 on the eve of her role as queen of last year's Pasadena Doo Dah Parade. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A colorful cast of "eccentrics, disruptors, pundits ... lone wolves, steam punks, makers and merrymakers" will frolick down Colorado Boulevard on Sunday for the 38th Occasional Pasadena Doo Dah Parade – a sort of counterculture version of the Rose Parade, event organizers said.

The parade kicks off at 11 a.m in East Pasadena, between Altadena and San Gabriel boulevards. An official parade after-party will follow about 1 p.m. at the American Legion Post 280, which will feature performances by Snotty Scotty and the Hankies and New Horses on Astroturf.

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The Doo Dah Parade began in 1978, a satirical "twisted sister" of Pasadena's annual Rose Parade, which is typically held on New Year's Day and attracts visitors from all over the country.

Veronika MeowMeowzz was crowned this year's Doo Dah queen, officials said. Other characters parading with Veronika MeowMeowzs include Radioactive Chickenheads, Flying Baby Naptime Aerialists, The Army of Toy Soldiers and Tortilla Target.

About 15 to 25 hopefuls compete each year for the crown, said Patricia Hurley, the parade organizer. There are tryouts – which is a festivity in and of itself – where hopefuls dance, strut, sing, tell jokes and unveil their inventive ideas.

Unlike the more traditional Tournament of Roses, practically anyone – and their dog – can make a run for queen.

"We like to keep it open to everybody because we really are trying to set an example for the Rose Parade that just does one kind of person – or at least, one gender," Hurley said before tryouts last month.

There are regulars who aspire for the crown, such as Count Smokula, a sort of Yiddish Dracula who plays the accordion; a woman known as the Naked Opera Singer; the Swami from El Monte and his "psychic dog," Hurley said.

Whoever wins this year will receive a crown made by the previous year's queen – in this case, Nancy Urbach, known as the belly dancer Narayana, who has sashayed her way through every Doo Dah since 1978.

Juli Crockett is this year's grand marshal and will perform live with the Evangenitals. "The popular singer/songwriter is also a playwright and undefeated professional boxing champion," parade officials said.

More event info can be found at http://pasadenadoodahparade.info/

Follow @RosannaXia for more news in Southern California.

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