Rose Parade and Beyond

Millions watch it on television, but have you ever wanted to see it live?

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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA... is often portrayed as the home of the shiny and the new and the future and the freeways, but, as with most things, that's not even half the story, much less the whole shebang. It's a place of rife with traditions that not only stretch back a few decades but centuries. Sorry, freeways and brand new glossy glass buildings, but you're not the whole tale. A far more famous tale is told every January 1, on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. That date and that street and that city mean one thing: flowers, and lots of 'em. It's the day of the Rose Parade, of course, and the tony, nature-nice float procession has been processioning since 1890. We know, before the freeways, before the fancy shopping malls, before a lot of what we now associate with LA, people in big hats and morning suits were walking and waving in honor of the Tournament of Roses. The parade and the Rose Bowl are up again on Wednesday, Jan. 1, and if you'd like to see it in person, do. But also know that there's more to the Tournament beyond the boulevard and bowl, like...

FLOAT DECORATING AND VIEWING: Watch meticulous-minded volunteers as they press seeds and shoots and petals onto gargantuan vehicles that puff smoke and animate? It's a pretty nifty, Pasadena-specific sight. The float garnishing kicks off, for public viewing, on Friday, Dec. 27.

EQUESTFEST: This one's all about the ponies who trot in the Rose Parade. You can see them prance before the big day, in Burbank, with their riders and trainers. Date? Sunday, Dec. 29. "(D)rills and dances" are promised.

BANDFEST: Sometimes the marching bands just play on down the road a bit too quickly, for sure. But, nice news, horn enthusiasts: This Pasadena City College-based concert gives the full-on, don't-march-away spotlight to the bands of the Rose Parade. It happens over two days, Dec. 29 and 30, at PCC.

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