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Rose Parade 2013: ‘Always an adventure with the family,’ says camper

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Near the beginning of the Rose Parade route, next to a 12-foot panorama of flowers and sculptures from the city of Torrance was another elaborate display, including a blue tarp, blankets, sleeping bags and 10 people ages 8 to 37.

‘It’s just a big family burrito, rolled up with a little of everything,’ said Juan Chavez of South Los Angeles, father and uncle to some of the bundled-up crew.

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Campers traditionally cluster at the start of the parade, forming warm bundles near the intersection of Del Mar Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue. Getting there early allows them a first look at the floats by the glow of street lamps and floodlights.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

But with just a few hours until the parade’s start, the challenge for many becomes staying warm -- and awake.

The group has been camping out since 3 p.m. Monday, staking out a spot after a trip to Wal-Mart for extra blankets. It’s the family’s first time seeing the Rose Parade up close.

But after 12 hours of waiting in a nest of blankets and sleeping bags, all except one had fallen asleep.

PHOTOS: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

‘I’m not going to sleep,’ said Chavez’s sister in law, Arlene Aguirre, 37. ‘I’m going to drink a Coke.’

But a few minutes later, Aguirre nodded off.

Meanwhile, Chavez stoked some coals in a small grill at 5 a.m. Tuesday, but barbecue was the furthest thing from his mind.

‘Just trying to stay warm,’ Chavez said, hunching his shoulders in a dark hoodie. ‘My brain is half frozen.’

The oldest and the youngest couldn’t take the 30-degree temperatures, Chavez said. ‘They went back to the van.’

But Chavez’s sister-in-law, Claudia Aragon, 41, says it has all been worth it.

‘It’s always an adventure with the family,’ she said.

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-- Frank Shyong


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