TRAVEL BLOG

January 3, 2019

Ringing in 2019 at the World-Famous Rose Parade in Pasadena

Growing up it was a family tradition to watch the Tournament of Roses parade every New Years Day.  We would all gather around the television inside our toasty house while the weather outside was freezing, and usually snowing!  I have fond memories of being in the living room with the Christmas tree and all the decorations still adorning our home. We would watch with amazement as the bright flowery floats and marching bands strolled down the sunny streets of California.  It seemed like a world away from our New Jersey suburban neighborhood. I remember wishing I could be there on those streets to witness first hand all the colors and sounds! What a spectacle!

To say I was excited to be taking a group up to the Rose Parade would be a huge understatement!  I could barely sleep on New Years eve, which would have really come in handy being that my journey to the Rose Parade began at 3:30 am! YIKES!  Thankfully my excitement about what lay ahead was the perfect antidote to lack of sleep. The bus was loaded with the happy and eager guests and we were on the road to Pasadena by 4am.  If anyone reading this is thinking about coming next year do yourself a favor and bundle up! Most of our guests were well prepared. It was a shockingly cold and windy morning for Southern California standards.  It was a delight to see that even that didn’t affect the group morale. We shared an air of joy and it felt like the harsh weather brought us even closer together.

Most of our friends made use of the travel time to get in a nice toasty nap.  We arrived just as the sun was coming up, it was really beautiful to watch the sunrise on the way into Pasadena.   The streets were lined with people who had camped out overnight. I was so amazed to see air mattresses and tents and what looked like full campsites.  Everyone in their hats, gloves, and big puffy winter coats reminded me of the holidays back east. We found our way to the grandstand seats which were just a hop skip and a jump away from our bus.  Everyone was very pleased with the location of their seats and their view of the parade.

A little while later we heard ooh’s and aahh’s followed by a rumble in the sky.  I looked up and saw this remarkable aircraft fly right over the grandstands. It was a stealth bomber flying over the entire length of the parade route to signify the start of the event.  The marching bands, my personal favorite, came first. It was such a sight to see, so beautiful to witness the excitement of all the high school kids from all across the United States. It is a great honor for a marching band to be invited to the Rose Parade.  Millions of bands try out each year and only a select few are invited to participate. The colors of the different band uniforms and the smiles on everyone’s faces sparkled in the warm morning sun.

The floats were absolutely breathtaking.  I was in complete awe of the flawless construction of these massive structures.  It was 3D moving art. It is completely different experience to see these flowery floats in person.  They look great on TV but to see them up close in personal took the beauty to a whole other level. Perhaps my favorite part of the entire day was the connection I felt to all the people there.  Everyone gathered together to celebrate. There was so much love and happiness in the air, honestly it brought me to tears. I highly recommend this tour and think that the Rose Parade is something everyone should have the pleasure of attending at least once in their lifetime.  Certainly, every Californian should!

~ Johnny DeVenio
DayTripper Tour Manager

Tour: Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena
Date: January 1, 2019


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