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.
Justin Caballes and his friends have attended the parade together for about five years now. Each year they get more thrifty about staying warm. A fire pit is the way to go, they said. It’s true- several people who’ve passed by their set up point and shout— “look it’s a camp fire” pic.twitter.com/9dYKoQy0k6
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.
About 2 a.m. - 6 hours before start time - the floats get into position on Orange Grove - as members of the public get a close look at the massive, flower-covered vehicles. #roseparadepic.twitter.com/yjMXb3HtTL
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.
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.
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."
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.