Rose Parade 2021: Everything to know about Friday’s virtual event

A colorful float on the street at the Rose Parade.
A float makes its way down the street at the 2020 Rose Parade. Friday’s parade will be a TV special.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

Roses are red, violets are blue, New Year’s celebrations are going virtual too.

It’s finally time to kiss 2020 goodbye and ring in 2021. And just as the COVID-19 pandemic will continue in the new year, so too will televised workarounds for major holiday events, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve” and, on Friday, Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses.

Instead of the typical 5-mile-plus parade route involving hundreds of volunteers and thousands of spectators, the 2021 Rose Parade will be a smaller, “reimagined New Year’s celebration,” featuring celebrity appearances, musical performances, football highlights and “spectacular floats from years past.”

In July, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn. canceled the 2021 parade for the first time in 75 years before converting to a COVID-19-safe alternative. Here’s everything to know about the show.


What time is the show, and where can I watch it?

Six networks — ABC, NBC, KTLA, Univision, Hallmark Channel and RFD-TV — will air the two-hour Rose Parade special simultaneously, beginning at 8 a.m. Pacific on New Year’s Day.

Who’s hosting?

Actor Gary Sinise in a suit and tie
Actor Gary Sinise will serve as one of the grand marshals of the 2021 Rose Parade.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision)

There isn’t a host, per se — but celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse and actor Gary Sinise will serve as grand marshals. The former will lead a lesson on how to mix his New Year’s cocktail of choice, while the latter is set to welcome viewers to the show.

Who’s appearing?

Actress Rita Moreno smiles in a colorful necklace and white sweater.
“One Day at a Time” star Rita Moreno will participate in the 2021 Rose Parade.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Along with Lagasse and Sinise, Friday’s extravaganza will feature special appearances from Puerto Rican musician Daddy Yankee, “Shameless” actress Shanola Hampton, Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez, ex-NFL star Matt Leinart, “Orange Is the New Black” alum Dascha Polanco, “One Day at a Time” star Rita Moreno and Los Angeles Dodgers legend Vin Scully.

Who’s performing?

Singer Mickey Guyton lounges on a green chair in a lavender halter dress
Country singer Mickey Guyton will perform at the 2021 Rose Parade.
(William DeShazer / For The Times)

Yeehaw! In addition to marching bands and equestrian displays, the 2021 Rose Parade will feature musical performances from several country artists, including Mickey Guyton, Lady A and Rascal Flatts.

Also set to take the virtual stage are Sheryl Crow, “Dear No One” hitmaker Tori Kelly and soulful husband-wife duo the War and Treaty.

What about the marching bands?

The Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm Band marching at the Rose Parade.
The Prairie View A&M University Marching Storm Band performs during a previous Rose Parade.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Don’t worry, Friday’s spectacular will still include music from several marching bands — even if they won’t be marching in the parade. A selection of high school and college seniors from around the world will come together during the show for a mass virtual performance of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from “Gypsy.”

And who better to lead the young virtuosos as the conductor of the 2021 Rose Parade than Kermit the Frog? It’s not easy being green — especially during a pandemic — but everyone’s favorite Muppet and former Rose Parade marshal is up for the job.

Graduating students from the following marching bands will participate in Friday’s show:

  • Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band (Arcadia, Calif.)
  • Banda de Música La Primavera (Santiago, Panama)
  • Bands of America Honor Band (recruits from all 50 states)
  • Downingtown Blue and Gold Marching Band (Downingtown, Pa.)
  • Georgia State University Panther Band (Atlanta)
  • Gibson County Mass Band (Gibson County, Tenn.)
  • Hebron Marching Band (Hebron, Texas)
  • Homewood High School Patriot Marching Band (Homewood, Ala.)
  • Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band (Los Angeles)
  • Mira Mesa High School Sapphire Sound Marching Band and Color Guard (San Diego)
  • O’Fallon Township High School Marching Panthers (O’Fallon, Ill.)
  • Royal Swedish Cadet Band (Karlskrona, Sweden)
  • St. Ursula Eichi Sendai Japan Honor Green Band (Sendai, Japan)
  • Waukee Warrior Regiment (Waukee, Iowa)