The Rose Parade® Through the Lens of a Broadcaster

While more than 700,000 spectators line the streets of Pasadena to experience the Rose Parade in person, more than 81 million people around the world enjoy the parade within the comfort of their homes. From the months that precede the parade through the morning of New Year’s Day, producers from various networks work tirelessly to gather information, draft scripts and prepare on-air talent to create a unique Rose Parade experience for their viewers.

What does it take to broadcast the Rose Parade? The Tournament of Roses® asked Joe Quasarano, executive producer of KTLA’s Rose Parade broadcast, for a behind-the-scenes peek at the Rose Parade through the lens of a broadcast team.

For more than 20 years, Quasarano has played a key role in producing KTLA’s Rose Parade coverage.

For more than 20 years, Quasarano has played a key role in producing KTLA’s Rose Parade coverage.

“Preparation for the KTLA Rose Parade broadcast begins for us right after Labor Day,” said Quasarano. “During this time, we secure video trucks and start to see the floats in their various stages of construction.”

Several months before the parade, Quasarano prepares homework for KTLA hosts Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards regarding parade entries while writers work on the script – a process that spans September to late December – gathering and editing detailed facts about each entry.

In addition to preparations for the domestic KTLA broadcast, Quasarano also works with third parties regarding timing in other parts of the world and delays for the international broadcast.

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While the parade route is 5½ miles long, broadcasters are positioned along the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevard, an area that over the years has been nicknamed “TV Corner.”

“The day after Christmas, Bob and Stephanie visit the floats in person and are given their scripts to review so that they can learn facts about each entry,” said Quasarano. Once Christmas passes, it’s crunch time.

In the days leading up to the parade, while thousands of volunteers flock to the float barns to decorate the parade’s floral masterpieces, broadcasters are busy adding last minute information to their scripts.

On December 28, set up – a process that involves approximately 130 technicians – begins and is followed by rehearsal on New Year’s Eve. The morning of the parade, the crew arrives at 2 a.m. to set up while the news crew conducts KTLA’s pre-parade coverage at 6 a.m.

A New Year’s Day tradition, the Rose Parade brings joy to millions of people around the world through a variety of broadcasts available to almost every continent and in multiple languages. Can’t make it to Pasadena this year to witness the parade in person? Check out our list of broadcasters to find a station near you!

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A Taste of Japan

Toho High School Dragon Band Welcomes Tournament of Roses® President and First Lady with Sights, Sounds and Delicious Cuisine

Last month, Tournament of Roses 2016 President Mike Matthiessen and First Lady Ann traveled to Japan to welcome the Toho High School Dragon Band to the 2016 Rose Parade®. Check out Ann’s recollection of their Japanese adventure below:

“Our trip to Japan was a whirlwind of activities and unforgettable moments! In between sightseeing and spending time with the Toho High School Wind Ensemble, we enjoyed a variety of delicious Japanese cuisine (including eel) under the guidance of our host Mr. Kumagai, the Executive Director of the Green Band (and well-known food blogger). But as always, our favorite part of any band trip, is visiting the band and meeting the students.

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We visited many Japanese temples, shrines, and castles in the cities of Nara, Kyoto, and Nagoya. My personal favorite was the beautiful Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji) in Kyoto.

The members of the Toho High School Wind Ensemble delighted us with a performance at their high school in Nagoya.  Following their performance, Mike presented the Tournament of Roses flag while their proud parents looked on. Just when we thought the performances were over, we discovered that they had a big surprise in store for us – an original song written just for their trip to Pasadena!

 

Mike and I were very moved by the beautiful lyrics of the song called “In the Name of Love.”  Following the performance, we greeted students and parents in the cafeteria while signing 2016 Rose Parade posters.  Throughout the trip many pictures were taken, memories made and new friendships formed.  Arigato (thank you), Toho High School, for an amazing adventure.

 

While serious and focused throughout their performance, members of the Toho High School Dragon Band were all smiles while getting their posters signed by President Matthiessen.

While serious and focused throughout their performance, members of the Toho High School Dragon Band were all smiles while getting their posters signed by President Matthiessen.

With only six months until America’s New Year Celebration®, Mike and Ann will spend the summer visiting participating marching bands in the 2016 Rose Parade. Which Adventure is next for the president and first lady? Stay tuned to find out!

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Horse Power – High-stepping Down Colorado Boulevard

Since the first Rose Parade® in 1890, horses have played a special role in America’s New Year Celebration®. From pulling flower-covered carriages to providing “horse power” for the first floats, the role of equestrian units has evolved over time. Despite the advent of motorized vehicles and technology, today’s highly trained equestrian units remain an integral component of the Rose Parade line-up.

Carefully selected each year, equestrian units highlight a variety of horse breeds, skilled riders (sporting eye-catching costumes) and hand-crafted tack to add to the entertainment value of the Rose Parade and the annual Equestfest. While traditional equestrian units in the Tournament of Roses® history were comprised primarily of horses, the 2015 Rose Parade equestrian roster included a unique entry made up entirely of mules!

The United States Forest Service celebrates wilderness management mules as an equestrian unit in the 2015 Rose Parade presented by Honda on January 1, 2015.

The United States Forest Service celebrates wilderness management mules as an equestrian unit in the 2015 Rose Parade presented by Honda on January 1, 2015.

The United States Forest Service equestrian unit featured 23 Sorrel mules with three pack strings. These pack strings represented the Forest Service history, the important role that pack stock play in supporting wildland firefighters and the 50th anniversary of the National Wilderness Preservation System.

From 1905-1950, the Forest Service used mules for wilderness management and trail construction before being replaced by technology. On January 1st this year, the United States Forest Service equestrian unit celebrated the return of its mules to wilderness management. The mules that appeared in the 2015 Rose Parade were all working mules who returned to work in the wilderness following their trek down Colorado Boulevard.

What equestrian units will you see in the 2016 Rose Parade? The deadline for equestrian units to apply is May 31, 2015. For more information, please visit our website.

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The Adventures of a Rose Queen®

While many activities for Rose Queen Madison and the 2015 Royal Court centered on the build-up to New Year’s Day, their reign continues long after the float ride down Colorado Boulevard. In addition to representing the Tournament of Roses® at a handful of public events within the greater Pasadena area, Queen Madison – along with Tournament officials – have been busy traveling to various festivals throughout the United States.

From Georgia’s Macon Cherry Blossom Festival to Texas’s Fiesta San Antonio Festival, Queen Madison has taken on the title of “Visiting Royalty,” enjoying various elements of each festival – including riding in their parades.

In between festival events, sightseeing and guided tours, Queen Madison dined in some of San Antonio’s local restaurants with other “Visiting Royalty” in her most recent trip to the Fiesta San Antonio Festival.

In between festival events, sightseeing and guided tours, Queen Madison dined in some of San Antonio’s local restaurants with other “Visiting Royalty” in her most recent trip to the Fiesta San Antonio Festival.

Aside from the thrill of adventure – why do the Rose Queen and Tournament officials travel to other festivals?

Simple. The Tournament of Roses shares a reciprocal relationship with 10 national and international festivals. Through these relationships, Tournament officials are invited to attend festivals and parades, and do so with the focus of looking for ways to continually improve America’s New Year Celebration®.

Where will Queen Madison and the Tournament of Roses travel next? Stay tuned to find out!

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A Guatemalan Adventure: Tournament of Roses® welcomes Latin Band Pedro Molina to 2016 Rose Parade®

One of the many responsibilities and privileges of the Tournament of Roses President is to personally invite and welcome each participating band to the upcoming Rose Parade. While some bands trips only require a short drive from Tournament House in Pasadena, others require international flights and translators.

Last week, following their band visit to Saratoga High School in California, Tournament of Roses 2016 President Mike Matthiessen and First Lady, Ann set off on an adventure to Guatemala to do just that. Check out Ann’s recollection of their Guatemalan adventure below–

“Our band trip to Guatemala to meet the Latin Band Pedro Molina was absolutely amazing!  We were thrilled to have fellow Tournament member Ernie Cardenas and his wife Isabel along with us to help translate as the highlight of all of our band trips has been meeting the bands and getting to know the students and band directors.

Mike presented the Tournament of Roses’ flag to the band in the plaza in front of the National Palace, where many Guatemalan bands had gathered and performed throughout the day.  Following the presentation, we toured the National Palace and then headed off to the band’s hometown of Coatepeque.

Mirroring the Rose Parade and its popular ancillary event, Bandfest, the city of Coatepeque hosted a festival which included a parade (that we all got to ride in!) and their own Bandfest, where Mike received the key to the city.  (My favorite part of the parade was seeing all the students of Coatepeque lined up along the parade route in the school uniforms.)

Latin Band Pedro Molina’s performances were lively, exciting and colorful, and the band members loved meeting "Mr. Mike" and taking selfies with him!

Latin Band Pedro Molina’s performances were lively, exciting and colorful, and the band members loved meeting “Mr. Mike” and taking selfies with him!

We were kept very busy during our stay.  Mike had many media interviews, including appearing on the morning talk show, Nuestro Mundo and meeting government officials, including the governor of Guatemala City.

On our final day, we had the privilege of touring the Mayan Ruins at Takalik Abaj Archaeological Park.  The ruins are actually considered a “national park” and we had a fabulous tour with their “ranger.” We ended our visit with a lively game of miniature golf with the band directors, Edwin and Jimmy.  As we drove back to Guatemala City, we were treated to the beautiful scenery of Guatemala which varies from tropical jungles, forests, and volcanoes.  Our Guatemalan adventure was one that we will never forget!”

Mike and Ann’s band adventures will continue throughout the year as they travel around the world to meet each marching band participating in the 2016 Rose Parade. Who will they visit next? Stay tuned to find out!

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Once a Rose Queen, Always a Rose Queen

As the longest living Rose Queen at 93-years-old, Margaret Huntley Main’s infectious personality and charm continue to validate her selection as the 1940 Rose Queen – an experience that shaped her life.

“Growing up in Pasadena in the 1920s, every girl dreamed of being the Rose Queen,” said Main. “But back then, things operated a little differently from today with the Royal Court and Rose Queen being chosen from only Pasadena City College students.

“I was one of more than 35 girls in the Pasadena Junior College district that had to tryout during our gym period,” she said. “I gave up on the idea of being chosen because I thought I was too tall. Most of the Rose Queens back then were no taller than 5’5” and I was 5’8”.”

Margaret’s poise and personality won the judges over. She was selected as a member of the Royal Court and shortly after crowned the 22nd Rose Queen of the Tournament of Roses.

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In the 1930s and 40s, being the Rose Queen opened many doors – sometimes to Hollywood. While Margaret was offered a contract from Samuel Goldwyn at MGM Studios, she declined the offer to get married, continue her education and raise a family.

Like many Rose Queens, one of the most memorable moments throughout her reign was riding atop the Royal Court float as it traveled down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.

“I saw what looked like a million people smiling and waving at me – the wave of love that poured out from the crowd was indescribable! I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t stop wondering ‘How did I get so lucky?’”

It was in this moment that Margaret vowed to always honor being the Rose Queen. She continually holds herself to high standards and returns to Pasadena multiple times a year to welcome the incoming Rose Queen upon her Coronation and attend other Tournament of Roses events.

Her advice for all future Royal Court members: Have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute. Be eternally grateful that you are having this wonderful experience!

Margaret Huntley Main congratulates 2015 Rose Queen Madison Elaine Triplett at the Announcement and Coronation of the 97th Rose Queen.

 

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“Find Your Adventure” in 2016

Building upon a year of inspiring stories, 2016 Tournament of Roses® President Mike Matthiessen encourages communities across the country to take action through the 127th Rose Parade® theme, “Find Your Adventure.”

Adventures can range in size and splendor. Through them we learn about ourselves, others and our surrounding environment – but first we have to find them.

Leading by example, the Tournament of Roses has embarked on an adventure of its own by collaborating with the National Park Service for the 2016 Rose Parade.

“As proponents of the American spirit, we encourage people to find beauty in the landscape that builds the backdrop of their lives,” said Matthiessen.

The 2016 Rose Parade poster highlights America’s New Year Celebration and our nation’s national parks.

The 2016 Rose Parade poster highlights America’s New Year Celebration and our nation’s national parks.

Both the Tournament of Roses and the National Park Service aim to preserve history, connect people through real-life experiences and engage the public in new adventures. Through this unique alliance, the 2016 Rose Parade will shine light on the centennial celebration of our nation’s national parks.

“Our hope for the New Year is that however you define it, you will find your adventure and enrich your life,” said Matthiessen.

 

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