Rose Parade veterans, neighbors enjoy a perk — a reserved spot

The Western Asset Management Co.'s entry, "So close, yet Safari," participates in the 125th Rose Parade in Pasadena.
(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Pasadena locals have been entitled to certain privileges during the Rose Parade. One of those is the unofficial code of “chalking,” marking with chalk, or tape in some cases, a designated area on the sidewalk along the parade route to watch and celebrate.

Look on sidewalks along Orange Grove Boulevard and you’ll see the outlines.

The entire lawn in front of 252 and 260 Orange Grove Blvd. were chalked as “252” and “260” areas, with patio chairs conspicuously placed lest anyone miss the chalk in the darkness.

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Parade-goers respected the chalked spot of TM & Bros. Insurance Company, a fictitious business made up by Pasadena resident Tyler Marona to save a space on the sidewalk for himself and his buddies to ring in the new year.

Marona and his friends usually get to Orange Grove Boulevard around 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, but this year they decided to not show up until 11 p.m.

Their chalked spot was still intact, they said, and the group enjoyed the elbow room as they celebrated shortly into the new year before leaving for a party.

Alex English, 21, of Riverside was a first-time overnight camper at the Rose Parade, but he quickly learned the rules.

English showed up in Pasadena at 4 a.m. Tuesday and slept on the pavement. Campers can’t sleep on the lawns until noon on New Year’s Eve, he said.

During the day, he inquired about a woman reserving an area with tape.

“She told me that this chalking thing is some sort of unwritten rule for those who do this pretty often, that you just don’t cross those lines,” English, 21, said.


He followed suit with chalk and tape, and his area remained invader-free into the night.

“It’s like a sacred code,” English said.

English said he learned other traditions from more experienced campers, like the one about throwing marshmallows at cars that passed through the area.

He described that ritual as less respected and less practiced, despite the debris of white marshmallows from cars that had fallen prey to his fellow campers’ aims.

“I love this,” English said. “I’m definitely coming back next year.”


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Twitter: @James_Barragan