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Chef Paula Deen to Lead 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade


The 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade will snake its way down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena tomorrow, with cook, author and Food Network star Paula Deen serving as grand marshal.

Themed “Building Dreams, Friendships and Memories,” the annual procession will include 46 floats, 22 marching bands and 22 equestrian units from around the world.

The parade will pass in front of thousands of 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.

This year’s parade will feature a wide variety of floats, honoring everything from Ronald Reagan’s birthday to the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks to the Rose Bowl Stadium.

A 55-foot-long float dedicated to the 40th president features a 26-foot-high bald eagle and 11 black-and-white photographs of Reagan, which will be decorated with onion seeds, poppy seeds and crushed sweet rice.

The front of the 9/11 float honors victims of the hijacked United 93 flight, the middle remembers the Pentagon and the rear depicts New York City.

The float will be lined with roses, each with a different 9/11 victim’s name on it.

A fire hydrant found in the Ground Zero rubble will also be included on the float.

Another float honors the 88-year history of the Rose Bowl Stadium, which is set to undergo renovations next year. The 55-foot-long float is a flower-decorated reproduction of the world-famous stadium and includes sculptural representations of a soaring blimp, stealth B2 bomber, jet plane fly-by and descending skydiver.

The procession will begin near Orange Grove Boulevard and Ellis Street, then move east along Colorado Boulevard and north on Sierra Madre Boulevard.

The floats will then remain on display at Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards so people can see them up close.

The weather during the parade is expected to be partly cloudy, with temperatures in the mid-50s to low 60s.

Deen, who rose from humble beginnings to achieve success in a variety of media, is the ideal person to serve as grand marshal, said Jeffrey L. Throop, president of the Tournament of Roses.

“An American sweetheart and a true success story, Paula Deen embodies what it means to build a dream into reality,” he said. “She has shared her friendships and memories with us all through her down-to-earth cooking and treasured recipes and we can’t wait to build memories together with her on New Year’s Day.”

Deen said she was especially thrilled “to be a part of such a special American tradition that brings such joy to so many every year.”

“In my house, the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game have always been a grand tradition for ringing in the New Year,” she said. “To serve as grand marshal is a dream come true and I look forward to sharing the celebration with all of the fans and viewers worldwide.”

Evanne Elizabeth Friedmann, a 17-year-old student at La Canada High School, will preside over the festivities as Rose Queen, along with the members of the Royal Court:

— Tatyane Anaid Berrios, 17, Arcadia High School;

— Sarah Christine Fredrickson, 17, Maranatha High School;

— Jessica Michelle Montoya, 17, Flintridge Preparatory School;

— Tenaya Miyoko Senzaki, 17, Pasadena High School;

— Kathryn Morris Thomson, 17, Flintridge Sacred Heart; and

— Michelle Washington, 18, Pasadena City College.

For people attending the parade, here are a few tips:

Small barbecues at least one foot off the ground are permitted.

Tents, sofas or boxes that can be used as stools are prohibited, as are unoccupied chairs, bonfires and fireworks.

Items may not be sold along the parade route without a permit, and ladders or scaffolding may not be used as elevation for viewing.

It is illegal to buy, sell or give away horns on the parade route, and selling space is prohibited, as is throwing anything at the parade.

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