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Laurie Niles

More pictures from the 2009 Rose Parade

January 2, 2009 at 6:57 PM

Happy New Year! Robert gave you some pictures from yesterday's Rose Parade, but I'm here to give you the REAL PICTURES, the ones from ground level. Pasadena's Rose Parade is not only the biggest parade in the world, but it's also the most excruciatingly long one. People have to twirl their batons, ride their horses, boogie to the beat, play their tubas, CARRY their tubas, walk in their high heels...for 5.5 miles.

The place where we meet friends is at the tail-end of the parade, some 5.4 miles into the route. They are just a block away from collapse at this point, and what better place to take their picture? Truly, I'm amazed at how energetic and giving the performers still are at this point. So here is the story of our Rose Parade adventure, in pictures taken from my little iPhone!

First, we walk to our spot, and then we wait. The parade starts officially at 8 a.m., but the Rose Parade motorcycles and first float don't reach us until nearly 10 a.m. Meanwhile, kids and adults occupy themselves by throwing footballs, munching on cotton candy, tooting horns, shooting party poppers and party snaps and of course, spraying silly string all over everyone and everything:

Really, it's all about the silly string:

But eventually the floats arrive. Here was one of my favorites, "Hope Grows" by Vera Bradley. Seated on the float were breast cancer survivors and family members.

The Hawaii All-State Marching Band wore all kinds of grass skirts, but most impressive to me was this man who stood right in front of us and blew his conch shell:

Of course we had the cheerleaders from the University of Southern California, who was playing Penn State in the game later in the day:

Sometimes people stop doing their tricks late in the parade because of exhaustion, but this guy really impressed me, with this lasso trick. Geez, don't trip the horse, EEEK! This is really impressive when you are just a few feet away:

Can I have a pretty dress like this?

This was simply a gorgeous float ("Bollywood Dreams"), the costumes, the flowers, the colors, and look at all those smiles!

I was sitting with a crowd of locals, and they simply knew many of the people on floats. In fact, one of the kids was plucked from among us by his mother, to walk the rest of the parade! Here was someone who came over to talk to friends:

America the beautiful, look at all the flags, the horses:

And here are the Penn State cheerleaders, go Big 10! Ah well, ya can't win every time:

But these guys are winners: the Nittany Lions tubas! You go tubas! You've almost made it, 5.5 miles!

Yes, that is a violin bow you see that young lady holding up on the National Association of Music Merchants float. Violinists in the parade, YEAH!

Look at the detail on the rabbit. Everything in the Rose Parade is made of plants, seeds, flowers and organic material, everything!

This one gets the award for "totally over the top," the Jack in the Box float. I didn't get a shot of Jack, but look at these 70s outfits, the bell bottoms! I love it!

This is one freaky tree. Note, you can see on the right side that the float is collapsed. All the floats have to go under a bridge toward the end of the parade, and sometimes they don't raise them back up until they get to the very end and put them on display.

And this little detail, just for Emily, from the Alaska float:

Happy New Year to all!

From Elaine Dowling
Posted on January 2, 2009 at 11:41 PM

The University of Oklahoma ponies (Boomer and Sooner -- and I am actually referring to the recently retired pair) were accustomed to pulling the Schooner in the Orange Bowl parade.  They were not amused by the Rose Bowl parade.  Oh, and the OU band?  They had mandatory conditioning hikes before leaving for Pasadena. 

Not for the faint of heart.


Norman, OK

From Laurie Niles
Posted on January 3, 2009 at 4:53 AM


From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 3, 2009 at 5:16 AM

Thanks so much for posting all those photos, Laurie.  I almost felt as if I were there.  I never knew that the Rose Parade was such a phenomenon.  I suppose that the pretty girl wearing the T-shirt is your daughter.  She looks a llot like you.  That was a really fun blog.

From Ray Randall
Posted on January 3, 2009 at 3:58 PM

The pictures show even more than the high def tv pictures. Thanks, Laurie.

From Don Sullivan
Posted on January 4, 2009 at 3:23 AM

Thank you, Ms. Niles for the beautiful pictures.  I missed the parade on television this year.  Here in Cleveland, Ohio we do not have a New Years parade so it is always good to see the colorful floats via the air waves.  Happy New Year!

From Emily Grossman
Posted on January 4, 2009 at 11:04 AM

So cool!

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