A wedding on top of a float, a little boy reunited with his father returning from military service, and a bat-winged Stealth Bomber flyby drew large cheers as the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade rolled down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena today.
Famed chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall served as grand marshal.
Themed “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!,” the annual procession included 42 floral floats, 23 marching bands and 21 equestrian units.
Beverly Hills’ Pets 90210 won the Lathrop K. Leishman award for its float “Follow The Stars…Adopt A Pet!”.
The parade was highlighted by a young couple pronounced “husband and wife” in front of the grandstands and on national television.
That event may have competed for the most tears shed with the little boy, who was surprised as his father, wearing combat fatigues, returned from his tour of duty.
The Dole fruit company’s “Dreaming of Paradise” float, built by Phoenix Floats, took the Sweepstakes Award. It was the 20th year that company had built the sweepstakes winner, a spokesman said.
The Grand Marshal’s Award wen to HGTV for “All Paths Lead Home.” The Governor’s Award went to the City of Glendale for “Living The Good Life,” the Director’s Award went to the City of San Gabriel Centennial for “Celebrating Our Journey,” and Burbank took the Fantasy Award for its “Deep Sea Adventures.”
The parade passed in front of between 700,000 and one million spectators, many of whom camped on the street overnight to secure prime viewing positions for one of the world’s most famous parades.
According to the Tournament of Roses Association, the first parade was staged in 1890 by members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club — former residents of the East and Midwest eager to showcase the Southland’s mild winter weather.
The first procession included horse-drawn carriages decorated with brightly colored flowers, followed by foot races and jousts in the area town square. In subsequent years, the parade festivities included rodeo-type events and even ostrich races.