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Published: January 9th 2017
There are any number of people who have a vision of southern California being warm all year around. In part, we have Hollywood movie producers to thank for that as they always show women in scantily clad clothing no matter the time of year. California locals laugh at tourists when they show up during the LA winter expecting to wear t-shirts and flip-flops. While an LA winter is no reason to pack the snow boots, you need to be prepared and dress appropriately. Layering is the key. Fortunately, we’ve lived in CA enough years to know this so once we bought our Rose Bowl tickets we made plans to bring a proper coat and gloves back from Florida when we were there for the Christmas Holiday.
Driving before the break of dawn toward Pasadena, we focus on traffic, crowds and whether we have on enough layers. Rolling hills surrounds Pasadena California and the temperatures drop at night. We were expecting upper 40’s low 50’s, a slight drizzle in the morning, a low cloud cover and variable winds…the winds are always a key factor. Our excitement builds as we find our pre-paid parking lot and start our 2.5-mile hike to our
Newport Beach, California
bleacher seats. Yes, you heard that right….you cannot just pull up and park when attending one of the oldest, grandest American parades. You alight from your vehicle and hoof it……
Six weeks ago, when we went online we were surprised to find that seats were still available. Yes, they were at an inflated rated, in most eyes a highly inflated rate, but we used the old, “how often are we going to be living 30 minutes from this parade?” excuse to justify the expense. The Rose Bowl Parade is one of those things that we have watched on TV for years. Every New Year’s Day from a young age, almost every American flips on the TV to see this parade at some point. Until today we couldn’t imagine how amazing all those roses looked up close. Today was the 128th
Rose Bowl Parade and we were stoked to be there. It’s kind of a “bucket list” thing.
We were entertained and a bit mesmerized as we weaved in and out of bodies on Colorado Boulevard on the sojourn to our seats. The thing is….if you’re willing to show up at about midnight and bring brave the night, you
Rose Bowl Parade
One of the most famous parades in America. Roses, roses and more roses.
can have a front row seat to this parade for free. We guess that many of these people have camped out many a year as they looked like professionals. It looked like a tailgate party with fire pits, grills full of food with sinful smells wafting in the air, elaborate air mattresses, airbeds, and sacks full of food. Sunrise was still in the offing, but you couldn’t really tell judging by all the activity.
Many vendors along Colorado Blvd were selling parade programs; various souvenirs and our favorite vendors were grilling giant hot dogs wrapped in bacon and serving them with sautéed onions and red peppers. This was not what we wanted at 7am but we did eye them and consider them for later.
After the long urban hike, we arrived at our bleacher stand and found row M and our seats. Mission accomplished and we soon realized the view was worth the time and investment. We were 100 yards from the NBC set where Al Roker and Hoda Kotb would be blathering on about the parade. We don’t want to seem negative, but we don’t always enjoy watching parades on TV because the announcers distract from the
action. The seats allowed a great view and the parade started soon after.
We learned many things about this parade if you plan to go in the future. You can attend for free if you sit or stand along the five-mile parade route. You must arrive very early or spend the night if you want a good viewing point. We did see a couple of the pros who brought step stools and small ladders so they could stand a few feet back and see over the head of the people in front of them. In our opinions, if you purchase bleacher tickets you do not want to be low on the bleachers. They have a metal gate barrier lining the parade route that would obscure your view during the parade.
We did discuss how tired some of these people would be as they got to the end of the parade route. It was a cold morning and many of the uniforms were skimpy and the kids had to be freezing. Ah….but their youth and excitement would most likely carry them through….
The marching bands put on an extraordinary show! MJ is quite serious when she states that
A rather studious-looking one at that!
she wants to petition the NFL to have The Ohio State Marching band or any of the bands we saw today for half time at the Super Bowl in place of the entertainment that we are currently subjected to. What an experience to perform at the Rose Bowl Parade. The uniforms, the instruments, the enthusiasm were amazing…….cold cloudy day notwithstanding.
The floats…….. the floats were amazing. We learned they spend the entire year working on the floats for the next year. Hundreds of hours planning and designing, plenty of hard work and a great deal of fun go into pulling this parade off. In the last few days, hours they add the roses in a refrigerated warehouse. We are told they are not allowed to use paint that all of the flowers are natural. The colors were uber vibrant.
The people sitting behind us flew in from New England for the parade and the football game. They also volunteered to work on one of the floats. When the Cal-Poly float came down the street they cheered with pride.
Three rows up behind us a young lady who had purchased the program read to all of us who
had not made the purchase. She kept is short and sweet. The 128th
Rose Bowl had participants from 30 states. That’s quite amazing……
Many people were smarter than us and brought pillows or blankets to sit on. Those steel bleachers got very cold. MJ sacrificed her wool scarf and we sat on it which helped for the first hour but the second hour was a bit chilly and we realized we should have worn two pair of socks. The wind kicked up a bit and the temps dropped in the second hour of the parade. As it ended we were glad to get up and move around.
We wanted to go find a place with hot coffee and a place to sit indoors for a bit, but as you can imagine many had the same idea. We were also surprised that many restaurants in downtown Pasadena were not open. We can’t imagine why. We stopped to share one of those amazing hot dogs wrapped in bacon. OMG….. a true taste treat. We snagged one….a taste delight, even at ten in the morning. We finally found a spot for breakfast and settled in for a nice breakfast.
at the iconic Hollywood Pantages Theatre
you are in the LA area during the holidays there are a million things to help get you in the holiday spirit. There were several things we wanted to do but ran out of time. As you know work always seems to interfere with our playtime. We had hoped to make it to the LA Zoo lights but didn't manage to make it. Many of the coastal towns have boat parades. Once weekend, we opted to go to Newport Beach to see the holiday lights. Balboa Bay has many amazing houses where the very rich people have decorated their amazing homes with lights. They put their money to good use. The boat ride is about 90 minutes and the lights are amazing. Well worth time if you are in the area.
During the holidays, we went to the Pantages theatre to see a live production of White Christmas. It is one of our favorite holiday movies and it was just perfect to get us in the holiday spirit. The Pantages theatre is lovely and well worth seeing a production there while you are in LA whether it is a holiday or not.
And last but not least we
Hollywood Pantages Theatre
The golden era....the beautiful architecture
made it to Disneyland on the last day of the holiday celebration. Every Christmas season the iconic American park decorates with additional holidays lights and has a Christmas parade. With MJ never having been to Disneyland, it seemed like time to go...although Dave was not exactly ecstatic over the idea, since he was stuck on the ride, "It's a small, small world" in 1974. He bucked up and humored MJ. Each year his story gets bigger and better regarding the continuing trauma inflicted that day over 40 years ago.
Disneyland is a clean and safe environment for you to take the kids to for the day to strectch the imagination and quite possibly the budget. Some say it is magical. They have put a great deal of planning and creativity into building quaint and inviting shops and rides. A variety of food and entertainment so that everyone can find something they enjoy. In decades past both of us were coaster freaks. In 1994 we went to an amusement park in Wisconsin and Dave turned green on the first big coaster we rode. It was a rough ride and MJ had a sore neck for a couple of days. We
Too cold for the skimpy outfits
Marching the 5 1/2 miles in style
haven't riden many rides since that time. At Disneyland we officially retired from coaster riding. Dave got a little nauseated on the Star Wars ride. We walked the park, enjoyed the Christmas parade and then headed to Space Mountain. Yikes! Both of us came off that ride feeling ill. That's it, we are done with coasters. Not sure what happened with us because we both used to love them. Our bodies are telling us to forget it. We wandered the park in search of our equilibrium and ended up at a section called "It's a Small World," (see the above mention of this ride) MJ enjoyed it immensely. Dave was haunted by the past but MJ could tell he was enjoying it. Disneyland does take on a magical glow after dark. All the colored lights enhance the fairytale like atmosphere.
We can see the appeal of Disneyland but its not a place we will frequent. We are puzzled by all the parents who take kids in strollers. In our opinion, they are too young to enjoy this environment. If the parents want to go it seems like they would find a sitter for the little ones and go alone.
Dragons storming the castle
Creative ideas and amazing flowers
From our perspective, it seems like a kid should be 8 or 9 before they could truly enjoy all that is going on there. Ah....but what do we really know? We do not have children, but do understand that there are many different ways to seek happiness and the good flok
Happy New Year!
We hope 2017 finds you healthy, happy and prosperous!
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