For some, Rose Parade presents opportunity to chant for a cause

Activists and proselytizers both jumped at the chance for attention at Tuesday’s Rose Parade.

Following closely behind the parade’s tail end, a group of about 75 who call themselves the People’s Parade marched while chanting, “housing is a human right!”

Lead organizer Carlos Marroquin, 58, said he hopes to raise awareness about advocating for fair housing and homeless communities.

“It bothers me to see seniors and entire families sleeping in tents,” he said. “It bothers me to see the homeless without any services. It bothers me that people have high rent they can’t pay.”

Others were also there to preach. With a headset-style microphone and a small speaker under her arm, Wanda Kang spread her message to parade-goers: “We are all sinners without Jesus Christ.”

Kang said she has come to the parade for the last five years. She thinks her work is effective, but said only people who “open their hearts” are receptive.


Float malfunction causes traffic jam at Rose Parade

A float malfunction caused a traffic jam at the Rose Parade on Tuesday morning.

The Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s train float was disabled by a small fire and was towed for the rest of the Rose Parade route, according to Cheryl Moody, a commander for the Pasadena Police Department.

The float, which depicted the moment when two locomotives met face to face upon completion of the Transcontinental Railroad, was wreathed in smoke near where the parade began on Orange Grove Boulevard.

Those onboard were able to extinguish the fire quickly before evacuating the float, said Pamela Knapp, chair of the parade’s float entries committee.

A tow truck tried, and failed, to pull the 95-foot float onto a side street. Several floats and bands were backed up behind the disabled float. Spectators, believing the parade to be over, began spilling onto the parade route. A band tried navigating around the stranded float and ran into the crowd milling about the route.

“Worst impasse I’ve ever seen at the Rose Parade,” said Los Angeles Times photographer Mark Boster, who witnessed the jam.

Eventually, organizers were able to clear the route “like Moses parting the Red Sea,” Boster said. The floats and bands backed up behind the Chinese American Heritage Foundation float were able to finish the parade. As of 10:45 a.m., a tow truck and a semi tractor were attempting to transport the disabled float down the rest of the route.

Descendants of the Chinese, Irish, German, African and Mexican laborers who built the railway were aboard the float, called “Harmony Through Union.”

“Everything we do is built by humans,” said Knapp, the float committee chair. “You plan and you plan, but sometimes things go wrong.”

Rose Parade attendees stream past a float that broke down Tuesday.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)


Volunteering on New Year’s Day to keep parade-goers healthy

For the past 20 years, Greg Roberts, 56, has spent New Year’s Day volunteering for the American Red Cross, treating participants and spectators of the parade for slips and falls, chest pains, hypothermia and hyperthermia — mostly among band marchers, who can easily overheat. Roberts and his Red Cross compatriots arrived at the parade route at 5:30 a.m.

“We’re all volunteers and do it because we want to help the public,” he said.


Parade lets Buckeyes fan reconnect with friends far away

Donald Girard has attended the Rose Parade ever since his college football team, the Ohio State Buckeyes, played in the Rose Bowl during his senior year in 1973.

The parade gives Girard, 67, a chance to reconnect with college friends. Girard has lived in California for 40 years, but he soaked up the festivities with former classmates from Florida and North Carolina.

“You graduate, you get a job, and you move all over the country, but it’s cool to see all these different characters come from various parts of the country to reunite at the parade,” he said.


Here’s a list of every Rose Parade float, band and other group in order of appearance

Eighty-eight floats, bands, troupes and committees will travel through the heart of Pasadena in the 2019 Rose Parade. Here’s every one of them, in the order they appear:

1. American Honda Motor Co.’s “Celebration of Dreams” float

2. Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets

3. U.S. Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard

4. U.S. Marine Corps, West Coast Composite Band

5. The American Legion’s “Still Serving America” float

6. Spirit of the West Riders

7. City of Alhambra’s “Home Tweet Home” float

8. Flower Mound High School Band

9. Cal Poly Universities’ “Far Out Frequencies” float

10. Mini Therapy Horses

11. Kaiser Permanente’s “Music Moves Us — Inspiring a Healthier World” float

12. Wells Fargo Stagecoaches

13. Chaka Khan, 2019 Rose Parade grand marshal

14. City of Torrance/Torrance Rose Float Assn.’s “The Power of Music” float

15. The Lassiter High School Marching Trojan Band

16. Donate Life’s “Rhythm of the Heart” float

17. Gerald Freeny, 2019 Tournament of Roses president

18. California Highway Patrol Mounted Patrol Unit

19. City of Hope’s “Harmony of Hope” float

20. Florida A&M University, the Incomparable Marching 100

21. Farmers Insurance Group’s “A Carousel of Experience” float

22. Banda Escolar de Guayanilla, Puerto Rico

23. Blue Diamond Growers’ “The Best Almonds Make the Best Almondmilk” float

24. Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Herald Trumpets

25. 2019 Royal Court

26. Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band

27. Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.’s “Stompin’ Good Time” float

28. Parsons Mounted Cavalry, Texas A&M

29. Western Asset Management Co.’s “Yellow Submarine” float

30. Scripps Miramar Ranch

31. Ohio State University Float

32. Ohio State University Band

33. Kiwanis International’s “Helping Kids Rock Their Future” float

34. Trader Joe’s Co.’s “Ride Captain Ride” float

35. Mercer Island High School Marching Band

36. Stella Rosa Wines’ “Taste the Magic” float

37. Pickerington Marching Band

38. La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn.’s “Tree Frog Night” float

39. Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team

40. University of Washington Float

41. University of Washington Band

42. United Sikh Mission’s “A Divine Melody Resonates in All” float

43. Shriners Hospitals for Children’s “Fezzy’s Garden of Hope and Healing” float

44. Terry Tornek, mayor of Pasadena

45. The UPS Store Inc.’s “Books Keep Us on Our Toes” float

46. Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps

47. 24 Hour Fitness USA’s “Tuned for Any Challenge” float

48. The Valley Hunt Club

49. Northwestern Mutual’s “Spend Your Life Living” float

50. 2019 Rose Bowl Game Hall of Fame Inductees

51. Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee’s “Service Rocks!” float

52. LAUSD All-District High School Honor Band

53. Lions Clubs International’s “Rockin’ the Vest” float

54. The New Buffalo Soldiers

55. American Armenian Rose Float Assn.’s “Chanting Stones: Karahunj” float

56. The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band

57. China Airlines’ “Rhythms of Taiwan” float

58. U.S. Forest Service Pack Mules Celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th Birthday

59. Big Bear Rose Parade Assn.’s “Play. Rest. Repeat.” float

60. The Norco Cowgirls & Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Teams

61. Lutheran Laymen’s League’s “Joy to the World, the Lord is Come” float

62. Na Koa Ali’I — Hawaii All-State Marching Band

63. Dole Packaged Foods’ “Rhythm of Paradise” float

64. Hawaii Pa’u Riders

65. Carnival Cruise Lines’ “Come Sail Away” float

66. 1st Cavalry Division, Horse Cavalry Detachment, U.S. Army

67. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float’s “200 Years of Harmony” float

68. AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s “Another Day in Paradise” float

69. Munford High School Band

70. Downey Rose Float Assn.’s “Let’s Go to the Hop”

71. Los Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team

72. Chipotle Mexican Grill’s “Cultivate a Better World” float

73. All-Izumo Honor Green Band

74. Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn.’s “Harmony’s Garden” float

75. Budweiser Clydesdales

76. Easterseals’ “Celebrating Easterseals — 100 Years of Disability Services” float

77. Banda Municipal de Acosta

78. Universal Pictures & Dreamworks Animation presents “How To Train Your Dragon”: “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” float

79. Calgary Stampede Showband

80. Calgary Stampede Showriders

81. Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day’s “Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day” float

82. Cavalcade of Bands Honor Band

83. Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s “Harmony Through Union” float

84. Gold Rush Fire Brigade

85. South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn.’s “Three Little Birds” float

86. Lincoln-Way Marching Band

87. Underground Service Alert of Southern California’s (DigAlert) “Backyard Harmony” float

88. Royal Swedish Cadet Band


Floats serve both civic and commercial purposes

Floats queue up on Orange Grove Boulevard for the start of the 2019 Rose Parade in Pasadena.
(Mark Boster /For The Times)

Rose Parade floats serve tradition, civic goals and commercial promotion.

For Cal Poly Pomona, float construction has become an annual exercise in student entrepreneurship and artistry, with 90% of the flowers grown locally.

Certain cities and causes are represented year after year. Burbank has taken part since 1914 and seized upon this year’s “Melody of Life” theme to present animated characters playing instruments in its “Stompin Good Time.”

The Donate Life float extols the mission of organ donation for the 16th year and this year’s theme highlights the musical diversity and rhythms of Africa.

The float will showcase African drums: the djembe from Senegal, the kuba from the Congo, a giant marimba from Ghana, a kora from Burkina Faso. The float also incorporates 44 floral portraits honoring deceased donors.

Overlooking the portraits is a double Senufo mask from the Ivory Coast “that gives thanks to ancestors and remembers those who have gone before,” according to the float sponsors. “The double face suggests male and female, past and present generations, as well as the interconnectedness of all of those who have been touched by the power of donation.”

Twenty-six living donors or transplant recipients will ride or walk beside the float.

The parade is all about boosterism in the form of forgivable, celebratory spectacle. Carnival’s Rose Parade float features divers and a replica of the cruise line’s new California-based ship, the Panorama.

A first-time entry comes from the restaurant chain Chipotle, which hopes for a goodwill boost five months after more than 600 people came down with food poisoning after eating at a Chipotle in Ohio.

The float features a giant red tractor to symbolize the work of farms. On the float will be growers and suppliers of ingredients for Chipotle restaurants as well as the rock band Portugal. The Man.

The “Cultivate a Better World” float is crafted with ingredients served in Chipotle restaurants, including about 200 pounds of chili flakes to cover the tractor; ground onion seeds for the tires; cumin, cloves, oregano and bay leaves covering the cart; ground white rice for lettering and 100 pounds of lemons hanging in trees — all destined to be recycled as compost.

Read More


Spotted: Rose Parade pooper scooper patrol hard at work


Sisters brave freezing winds, sprinklers for spot on parade route

Denice Montes, 24, has been coming to the Rose Parade for years. But between a biting wind and sprinklers that doused her with water overnight, none has been as cold as this year, she said.

On Tuesday morning, Montes and her sister, Juliana Guerrero, lounged on an air mattress, swaddled in blankets and holding their teacup poodle named Daisy. Guerrero, dressed in all purple and with streamers dangling from her hair, was setting off poppers with her cousin, sending confetti and puffs of smoke into the early-morning air.


A place for everyone: Rose Parade offers free seating to people with disabilities

Terina Sprague, 34, was taking in the Rose Parade from a section set aside for people with disabilities. Sprague, who is in a wheelchair, had applied for — and received — free tickets for the reserved sections.

Brianne Ernst, a Tournament of Roses volunteer, said the city provides seating for people with disabilities on a first come, first served basis in three places along the parade route. One section is in front of the Paseo on Colorado Boulevard, where the vision- and hearing-impaired usually sit. There, they can also find interpreters. Another section is on Colorado Boulevard and St. John Avenue, and a third is near the end of the parade route.

Though Sprague scored free tickets for great seating at the parade, she and her mother still had to pay for expensive parking. But it’s a fair price to pay, they said, to kick off 2019 in style.

“I’m not much of a partier for New Year’s Eve, so coming to the Rose Parade is a fun New Year tradition,” Sprague said.


Watch the 130th Rose Parade live


‘You don’t see people coming together a lot. This is one event where that happens’

Armando Hurtado finds camaraderie along the Colorado Boulevard sidewalk, where people without bleacher seats camp out.

Hurtado had come with his wife, Pamela, to watch their daughter perform in the Pasadena City College Honor Band. Waiting on the sidewalk, as the sun rose behind them, the Hurtados met Moises Moran, who was there for his 12th parade with his two kids, 11 and 8.

Moran said he’s noticed that the people buying bleacher tickets tend to be from out of state, while the people on the sidewalk are diverse both in terms of wealth and race, and tend to be from in-state.

“People don’t see race here,” Hurtado said. “Everyone is here for one purpose, to bring in the new year.”

Everyone takes care of each other, really — even if they’re strangers, Moran said. The heater he brought to attach to his propane tank wasn’t working, so the men sitting next to Moran lent him theirs.

After all the political and social division over the last year, Hurtado said the act of camping out to watch the parade is unifying.

“You don’t see people coming together a lot. This is one event where that happens. It’s a wonderful way to start the new year,” he said.


List of 2019 Rose Parade Awards

The 2019 Sweepstakes award for the most beautiful entry, which encompasses float design, floral presentation and entertainment, was presented to the UPS Store Inc. for its “Books Keep Us on Our Toes” float.

In alphabetical order, the other winners were:

  • Americana Award for most outstanding depiction of national treasures and traditions: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, “Garden, Fresh,” Phoenix
  • Animation Award for most outstanding use of animation: Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., “Stompin’ Good Time,” self-built
  • Bob Hope Humor for most whimsical and amusing float: Northwestern Mutual, “Spend Your Life Living,” Fiesta
  • Crown City Innovator for most outstanding use of imagination, innovation and technology: Trader Joe’s Co., “Ride Captain Ride,” Phoenix
  • Director for most outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral materials: Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn., “Harmony’s Garden,” self-built
  • Extraordinaire award for most extraordinary float: Cal Poly Universities, “Far Out Frequencies,” self-built
  • Fantasy award for most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination: Western Asset Management Co., “Yellow Submarine,” Phoenix
  • Founder award for most outstanding float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization: La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., “Tree Frog Night!,” self-built
  • Golden State award for most outstanding depiction of life in California: Big Bear Rose Parade Assn., “Play-Rest-Repeat,” Fiesta
  • Grand Marshal award for most outstanding creative concept and float design: Stella Rosa Wines, “Taste the Magic featuring Kool & The Gang,” Fiesta
  • International award for most outstanding float from outside the United States: China Airlines, “Rhythm of Taiwan,” AES
  • Isabella Coleman award for most outstanding presentation of color and color harmony through floral design: United Sikh Mission, “A Divine Melody Resonates in All,” Phoenix
  • Judges award for most outstanding float design and dramatic impact: Donate Life, “Rhythm of the Heart,” Fiesta
  • Leishman Public Spirit award for most outstanding floral presentation from a non-commercial participant: Easterseals, “Celebrating Easterseals 100 Years of Disability Services,” Fiesta
  • Mayor award for most outstanding float from a participating city: South Pasadena Tournament of Roses, “Three Little Birds,” self-built
  • Past President award for most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials: Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DigAlert), “Backyard Harmony,” Fiesta
  • President award for most outstanding use and presentation of flowers: City of Hope, “Harmony of Hope,” Phoenix
  • Princess award for most outstanding floral presentation among entries 35 feet and under in length: City of Alhambra, “Home Tweet Home,” Phoenix
  • Queen award for most outstanding presentation of roses: Farmers Insurance Group, “A Carousel of Experience,” Phoenix
  • Showmanship award for most outstanding display of showmanship and entertainment: Universal Pictures & Dreamworks Animation presents How To Train Your Dragon, “How to Train Your Dragon – The Hidden World,” AES
  • Theme award for most outstanding presentation of the Rose Parade theme: Shriners Hospitals for Children,”Fezzy’s Garden of Hope and Healing,” Phoenix
  • Tournament Volunteer award for most outstanding floral presentation of the Rose Parade theme among floats 35 feet and under in length: City of Torrance / Torrance Rose Float Assn., “The Power of Music,” Fiesta
  • Wrigley Legacy award for most outstanding display of floral presentation, float design and entertainment: Dole Packaged Foods, “Rhythm of Paradise,” Fiesta

Here’s a list of all 40 float sponsors in the 2019 Rose Parade

  • 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc.
  • AIDS Healthcare Foundation
  • American Armenian Rose Float Assn.
  • American Honda Motor Co. Inc.
  • Big Bear Rose Parade Assn.
  • Blue Diamond Almonds
  • Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.
  • Cal Poly Universities
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • China Airlines
  • Chinese American Heritage Foundation
  • Chipotle Mexican Grill
  • City of Alhambra
  • City of Hope
  • Torrance Rose Float Assn.
  • Dole Packaged Foods
  • Donate Life
  • Downey Rose Float Assn.
  • Easterseals
  • Farmers Insurance
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Kiwanis International
  • La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn.
  • Lions Club International
  • Lutheran Laymen’s League
  • Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day
  • Northwestern Mutual
  • Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float
  • Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee Inc.
  • Shriners Hospital for Children
  • Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn.
  • South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn.
  • Stella Rosa Wines
  • The American Legion
  • The UPS Store Inc.
  • Trader Joe’s Co.
  • Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DigAlert)
  • United Sikh Mission
  • Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation
  • Western Asset Management Co.

For Rose Parade ‘bandit’ runners, it’s all about jogging and smelling the float flowers

For more than a decade, members of the Pasadena Pacers running club have gotten up early to run the parade route.

They call it the “Rose Parade bandit run,” a vestige of a time when they were not welcome on the route. But now they are, said Michael Ramos of Azusa, the club’s vice president.

The group meets up, runs to see the floats on Orange Grove Boulevard, and then runs back, he said. The runners get a chance to smell the parade float flowers and take selfies. This year, 150 to 200 people turned out, the largest number to date.

Is it difficult, running in the early morning chill?

“We layer,” Ramos said.


High school friends share shivers and hot dogs by parade route fire barrel

A group of friends who attended Pasadena High School together and have braved the Rose Parade’s biting cold for the past five years set up camp by Colorado Boulevard and Bonnie Avenue overnight.

By 5:30 a.m. — it was still dark out — three of them were asleep, slumped in folding camp chairs and huddled in blankets next to a flickering fire barrel. Justin Caballes pulled out a hot dog and a bun from a plastic bag — his first of the day.

Cody Smith said it’s the first year he didn’t bring his sleeping bag because he drove to the parade route straight from work.

“Next year we have to bring mattresses,” he said. “I really hate these chairs.”

They rang in the new year just hours before by standing around the fire and screaming, and watched people nearby release three or four flying lanterns into the air. One got caught on the roof of the Bank of America building across the street.

Caballes started his tradition of camping out to watch the parade for a girl. She had mass texted some friends saying that if she did not get enough people to stay out all night with her, her parents would not let her go. Caballes was ill-prepared for the cold that first year, and he did not really get to talk to the girl he liked. It was a bust, except for the fact that he loved it so much that he has attended every year since.


Staying warm

Campers stay warm in the hours before the start of the 2019 Rose Parade along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.
(Mark Boster / For The Times)


Workers scramble to get parade floats ready

Under the glare of a truck-mounted floodlight, technicians from Artistic Entertainment Services made tweaks and adjustments to the China Airlines float Tuesday morning.

AES is one of three companies that build the majority of the Rose Parade floats, along with Fiesta Parade Floats and Phoenix Decorating Company.

AES has seven floats in today’s parade: Ohio State, Washington, Universal Studios, Blue Diamond Almonds, China Airlines, Chipotle and 24 Hour Fitness.

The chassis and frame of the China Airlines float are all steel, AES float leader Andrea Zepeda said. She said the design process begins each February, when the parade’s theme is announced.

The design is a collaboration between AES and the client, she said as she stood in the shadow of the massive China Airlines float as two people climbed a ladder to make an adjustment. A patch truck nearby was filled with flowers, including roses in individual vials of water.

AES has been making floats for China Airlines for more than 20 years. The company also works with Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios, making set props and Halloween mazes. This year AES will work with Vanity Fair on its Oscars party.

Zepeda, wearing a black Dickies jacket, jeans and boots, kneeled down, sticking red roses one by one into foam at the front of the float.

“I need glue,” someone said.

“What kind of glue?” Zepeda answered. “Any kind,” the voice said, and Zepeda ran off to the patch truck.

At around 4 a.m. there were enough roses on the float, and all the fixes were made. Zepeda jumped in the front of the truck with the driver, and Danie Foxvog and Austin Bogner and hopped in the back, their feet swinging freely. The truck rolled out.

Bogner talked about the amount of detail work that goes into each float. Seeds placed in areas that no one will ever see. Small details that aren’t visible on TV — or even from the grandstands. Still, Bogner said sometime you find yourself on a ladder, struggling with “that one soybean that just won’t stick.”

Bogner said slept for about an hour on Dec. 31 — from 5 to 6 a.m. Decorating started in earnerst on Dec. 26 and the last week was a nonstop work binge for AES.

The company has a facility called Rosemont Pavillion across from the Rose Bowl Stadium where staff instruct volunteers in decorating.

The truck rolled to a stop and Bogner and Zepeda ferried flower arrangements and garlands to Tournament House — parade headquarters. The arrangements were for the motorcycles that lead the parade, and the garlands decorate the vintage cars that carry VIPs.


Rose Parade floats lining up with 6 hours to go


Resourceful Whittier couple finds a warm place to camp

The idea came as they prepared to set up on the sidewalk, Christina Carreon, 54, said.

She and her husband, Rudy Cervantes, of Whittier, arrived around 8:30 p.m. and were planning to set up under some bleachers when she noticed the view from their truck wasn’t too bad — they had a direct line of sight of the road where the floats will come by.

So as scores of campers set up air mattresses, hammocks, cots, or sleeping bags, the couple decided they could just squeeze their air mattress into the back of their pickup.

Cervantes, 56, said he came up with the idea to pitch the top part of their tent above the truck bed to shield them from the cold.

“It’s called wisdom,” he said of the idea.

“No, it’s called you don’t want to freeze your butt off,” she retorted.

Inside, they had two sleeping bags and a blanket, creating a cave-like shelter off the ground.

The idea didn’t go unnoticed. One woman passing by shouted “Smart idea!” at them, while another man walking by called it “awesome.”

The couple began camping out along the parade route three years ago, and this year, Carreon said she had to convince her husband that they should do it while they still could.

She said the event is one of the few times that people come together and help each other out if they need it.


Rose Parade campers ring in the new year

Two-minute warning!” Jacob Botello hollered out as the last couple of minutes of 2018 came down.

The crowd began to chant.

“Five, four, three, two ...” Botello and his mother, Mary Botello, let off party poppers that filled the air with confetti with a loud pop as police cars driving down Colorado Blvd. sounded their sirens. People cheered and yelled “Happy New Year!” as more confetti blew into the streets.

It was the first time Mary Botello came out to camp on New Year’s Eve to see the Rose Parade, Jacob said, after they spent years talking about going. They made sure this would be the year they got the full Rose Parade experience.

“To celebrate it here on New Year’s, it’s a nice experience,” Jacob Botello, of Santa Monica, said.

He said the windy weather did not deter them — they came layered up and brought reclining chairs to sleep in. To pass the time, they played dominoes, listened to music and reminisced about family stories.

Their family had some deaths in recent years, Jacob Botello said, so the new year gives him and his family a chance for a new start. It also gives them the opportunity to celebrate new beginnings and to start new traditions.


One strategy to beat the cold: As many layers as possible

At 11:10 p.m. Monday on the platform waiting for the train, Mark and Joan Mitchell stood out from other Metro passengers due to their multilayered jackets (him, four layers and her, six) and their camping chairs and bags.

They drove from Santa Ana to Union Station and took the Gold Line from there.

“I could care less about roses and floats and parades, but you have to do it once,” Mark said. “It’s one of those bucket list items.”


New Year’s Eve is a long, lucrative night for hot dog vendor

Gabriel Garcia of Pasadena has sold hot dogs on New Year’s Eve for the last for years.
(Melissa Gomez / Los Angeles Times)

Gabriel Garcia, 34, has been coming to the Rose Parade with his family for as long as he can remember, but over the past four years, he’s spent the last day of the year cooking hot dogs and keeping nearby bar patrons well fed.

The sun was not even up when Garcia, of Pasadena, claimed a spot on the sidewalk between the bars on Colorado Blvd. at 5 a.m. Monday and set up his stand.

Around 5 p.m., he started selling hot chocolate and hot dogs. By 10:30 p.m., the chilly wind wafted the smell of juicy hot dogs over to the line that formed outside a nearby bar.

“I’ll be here guys; don’t worry,” he called out. He even convinced one guy to step out of line and eat a hot dog while he waited.

Garcia zoomed back and forth between his portable stove and table with extra supplies as a line formed, and he enlisted his friend Daisy Rico to help handle the money.

“I gotta sell,” Garcia said between attending to customers, offering jalapeño, onions and green peppers as toppings.

The night before the Rose Parade is a good night for business, he said, and he plans on staying until 2 a.m. Tuesday before going home for a brief rest and resuming business in the morning. In the past, he said, he’s made about $3,000 in one night.

His sister, Viviana, 18, was operating a second portable stove. She said she helped her brother prep the hot dogs and cut up the veggies.

Viviana said it was a tradition Gabriel started, but she helps out where she can.

“As a family, we all help each other,” she said.


The struggle to stay warm begins

Out on the sidewalk on Colorado Blvd., Ulises Reyes, 20, and his nephew, Isaac Mendoza, 14, held up signs as they competed to solicit honks from passing cars.

“Honk once if I’m cute!” Reyes hollered, echoing the words on his sign.

“Honk twice if I’m cuter!” Mendoza shouted, echoing his.

The two have been camping overnight on New Year’s Eve for the past six or seven years, and about three years ago, they decided to hold the signs as a way to pass the time, Reyes, of Irvine, said.

“It’s a kind of tradition,” he said, “just to have fun with my nephew.”

They come with friends and family, and the pair claimed a spot on the sidewalk at 8 a.m. Monday. They typically have between 15 and 20 family members and friends show up by the time the parade starts.

Luis Amaya, 20, who has been friends with Reyes since third grade, said the chilly temperatures almost made him reconsider staying the night, which the group spends on a pile of blankets, foregoing any mattresses or cushions. But Amaya missed last year, so he promised Reyes he would stick around.

“If you come here to the Rose Parade, sleeping on the streets is part of the experience,” Reyes said.

To stay warm, Reyes said they would drink something warm or bundle up in the blankets they brought with them. “We’re going to walk around,” he said. “If that doesn’t work ...”

“We have each other to keep warm,” Amaya said, wrapping his arms around Reyes.


Cal Poly Pomona hasn’t yet begun construction of $3.7-million Rose Float Lab

Cal Poly Pomona has taken pride in its Rose Float program since 1949, when one student, Don Miller, helped bootstrap the university’s first float in just 90 days with a couple hundred dollars.

Despite the praise the university has received for its Rose Parade float entries in the years since then, students continue working in an open-air warehouse built decades ago — less than ideal conditions for the painstaking work, officials say.

In October 2017, the university announced it would build a $3.7-million Rose Float Lab and Design Complex for its Rose Float program with private funding.

But, a year later, the project has yet to break ground.

Read More


‘You gotta get creative’ when tossing shaving-cream tortillas

The throwing of corn tortillas with shaving cream is a constant New Year’s Eve tradition along the Rose Parade route, and it’s what keeps Manuel Estrada, 32, coming back.

On Monday night around 8:30 p.m., Estrada, his wife and their son stood on the edge of the road, rocketing tortillas filled with shaving cream at cars with windows down. At one point, Estrada took a jump shot, launching a tortilla into a car. “You gotta get creative,” he said.

“Oh, here comes one,” Estrada said, eyeing an oncoming car.

For the past three years, Estrada has joined his wife, Stephanie Gonzalez, and her family to celebrate New Year’s Eve on Colorado Blvd. Gonzalez, 29, said she and her family have been coming for at least 20 years, and they used to stay overnight, back when they had an RV.

In recent years, they have decided to stay until only until about 10 p.m. and head home after the road is closed off and the cars stop coming.

Her aunt, Kami Gonzalez, brings along a wagon with snacks, packets of corn tortillas, cans of shaving cream and silly string, and bags of marshmallows to launch at passing cars. The general rule is to be respectful of clean-looking cars, but if they have a window down, they are fair game.

At one point, both Estrada and Stephanie Gonzalez launched tortillas at a car, but Gonzalez’s smacked her husband in the back of his head. Luckily, it was a clean tortilla.

“We’re on the same team!” he told her, laughing.

Over the years, Gonzalez said police officers have become more lenient about cars getting pummeled with tortillas and silly string. Occasionally, some people in the car will prompt patrons and shoot back their own tortillas and shaving cream.

Samuel Gonzalez, Kami Gonzalez’s son, came back to his mother, the sleeve of his red sweater stained, after pelting a car in which the passengers shot back.

“They got me. They got me with a tortilla,” the 11-year-old said.

At a red light down the road, a group of children chased down a car that was covered in silly string and shaving cream. “Get ’em!” someone yelled as the children launched their tortillas with cheers.


Chaka Khan presides as 2019 Rose Parade grand marshal

Chaka Khan performs at "Joni's Jazz" concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011.
Chaka Khan performs at “Joni’s Jazz” concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2011.
(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Chaka Khan, the 10-time Grammy-winning singer known as the “Queen of Funk,” will be the grand marshal of the 2019 Rose Parade.

The 130th Rose Parade, held on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, will feature the theme “The Melody of Life.”

Read More


See the Rose Parade route and Pasadena road closures


Louise Deser Siskel: I am Jewish. I wear glasses. I am bisexual — and I’m the Rose Queen

Louise Deser Siskel is surrounded by princesses after learning she is the 2019 Rose Queen at the Pasadena Playhouse on Oct. 23.
Louise Deser Siskel is surrounded by princesses after learning she is the 2019 Rose Queen at the Pasadena Playhouse on Oct. 23.
(Tim Berger / Los Angeles Times Community Newspapers)

I don’t consider myself the royal type. I tend to trip down stairs rather than glide, and I might choose a good game of Scrabble over a palace ball. I didn’t even have much of a princess phase as a child — more backyard mud pies than dress-up tea parties. Yet, improbably, on New Year’s morning, I will take my place in the Rose Parade among a group of young women in gowns and crowns, waving from a flower-adorned float, as the 101st Rose Queen.

Read More


Carnival’s first Rose Parade float will star its upcoming Long Beach-based ship

Most ships are christened while they’re in the water. But the good ship Come Sail Away was resting solidly on concrete when a christening bottle slammed against its bow Friday, exploding into a colorful cloud of confetti.

Actually, Come Sail Away will never enter the water. The highlight of its short life will be a 5 1/2-mile journey through Pasadena as a Rose Parade float Tuesday morning.

Read More


2019 Rose Parade brings freezing temperatures and winds to Pasadena

Paradegoers planning to camp out on New Year’s Eve for the 130th Rose Parade should pack extra blankets as Santa Ana winds will sweep through Pasadena and much of Southern California, making for a chilly New Year’s Day, the National Weather Service said.

Read More