Full-Bloom Event Had Modest Roots
The Tournament of Roses started in 1890 to celebrate California’s mild climate. It initially was a modest procession of flower-covered carriages followed by a major battle of foot races, tug-of-war contests and sack races.
My, how things have changed.
For instance, a football game has replaced the company picnic games. And floats have become a computerized, multimillion-dollar business. Orchids can cost $50 each. A float featuring a caterpillar doing the Macarena will cost about $250,000 to build. More than 1 million people will squeeze themselves into the 5.5-mile Rose Parade course on New Year’s Day to watch the floats, which travel at less than 3 mph.
More than 425 million people in 90 countries will watch on TV. Carol Burnett will be the grand marshal of the parade, which has the theme of “Hav’n Fun,” spelled precisely that way.
This year, 54 floats, 26 equestrian groups, 22 bands and three tournament entries will begin the parade. They won’t necessarily all finish, or there may be problems along the way.
Last year, for instance, a float grazed several parade watchers. And the hand that Frankenstein’s bride vigorously waved fell off.