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City’s ties to Rose Parade blooming for 89 years


Today, nearly one million people are attending, and millions more

around the world are watching on television, the 114th annual

Pasadena Tournament of Roses parade.


Burbank has participated in this tradition since 1914, with its

first entry for the float titled “Goddess of Plenty,” which won a

prize. After World War I, Burbank resumed its participation in the

parade. Not even the Great Depression could stop Burbank from


participating in the parade, but instead of floats, Burbank entered

decorated cars in 1930 and 1931. In 1932, Burbank changed pace and

entered the parade with the Burbank Municipal Band, the only time

Burbank participated in the parade with a band. The tradition of the

parade was again interrupted by World War II, but Burbank’s

participation resumed again in 1947. The theme of the 1964 parade was

“Symbols of Freedom” and Burbank titled its float “President Goes to

the Prom,” commemorating John F. Kennedy’s previous visit to the John


Burroughs High School prom. Burbank won a prize for that entry.

Burbank has participated in the parade every year since 1950, with

this year’s entry of “Bathtime Friends.”

Burbank has also been very successful in frequently winning awards

at the parade. Burbank’s entry in the 1938, 1939, 1956, 1958 and 1961

parades won the Sweepstakes award. In 1975, 1977, 1982, 1992 and

1995, Burbank won the Founder’s Trophy. The floats entered in 1968

and 1972 won the Grand Marshall’s award, while The Red Rose award was


won in 1970 and 1974. In 1998 and 2000, Burbank came home with the

Mayor’s Trophy and the Volunteers’ Trophy in 1996. In 1997, the

Burbank entry won the coveted Float Builders of the Year award.

Burbank has continued to win various awards over the years, but the

greatest award for the volunteers seems to be the sense of

accomplishment, pride and community spirit which has come with every

Burbank entry.

The continuity of Burbank’s participation in the parade requires a

great deal of work. Ensuring that a float is ready to go down

Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day requires the Burbank Tournament

of Roses Assn. begin work on the next float almost immediately after

New Year’s Day. The public is invited to submit ideas for the design

of the float as soon as the theme of the parade is announced. The

board of directors of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. selects

several designs and presents them to the general membership for final


Detailed plans of the float are then drawn up and reviewed to

ensure the structural integrity of the float. By May, the

construction of the float begins and takes considerable time. Fresh

flowers are ordered in the fall and decoration of the float begins

Dec. 26. Once the float is finished, it begins its journey on surface

streets to Pasadena with a police escort. The Burbank Tournament of

Roses Assn.'s consistent participation in the parade is unique

because it is one of only six organizations that enter self-built

floats and is staffed entirely by volunteers. A majority of the

floats are constructed by professional float-building companies.

To volunteer, contribute or to get an entry form for next year’s

float design contest, go to www.burbankrose- or call


The tradition of Burbank’s entry into the Pasadena Tournament of

Roses parade is a remarkable achievement when you consider the

challenges and hurdles that must be overcome.

The cooperation and hard work of the Burbank Tournament of Roses

Assn., the City of Burbank and the tireless volunteers embodies the

true spirit of our community.

* CRAIG BULLOCK is the chairman of the Burbank Heritage

Commission. Reach him at