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Rose Parade's floats brighten a gray day

Rose Parade's floats brighten a gray day

The flowers popped with color on a gray day, oceans of hydrangea and blue iris, a volcano pouring lava of orange roses, a giraffe of 16,000 yellow chrysanthemums.

The cool weather this time foiled the Tournament of Roses’ century-old campaign to flaunt Southern California's mild winters. But for the parade’s 128th venture down Colorado Boulevard, the petals all but glowed under the gunmetal sky.

"It's so much better than TV," said Anna Herwig, a freshman at Penn State who came to see her team play USC in the Rose Bowl.  "I always watch it, but it's so much more colorful and exciting in person."

Sofia Refai came...