Flowers, Floats and Adventure Found at Decorating Places presented by Giti Tire

In the days leading up to America’s New Year Celebration®, Rose Parade® participants log countless hours in last-minute preparations. While marching bands review sheet music and equestrian units polish their tack, thousands of volunteers from the greater Pasadena-area work around the clock decorating floats.

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From the concept sketch to the final product, hundreds of people collaborate to produce the floral masterpieces that make the 5 ½ mile journey down Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Day.

In the early years of the Rose Parade, horse drawn buggies and wagons were adorned with flowers from neighbors’ yards. Over the years, as the landscape of the Rose Parade shifted from wagons to floats, so did the decorating techniques and overall creativity. Today, Rose Parade floats feature state-of-the-art sound, animatronics and flowers from around the world.

1891 "Float" Entry

1891 “Float” Entry

Despite advances in technology, all floats must be completely covered in natural materials. In order to do so, float builders welcome hundreds of volunteers throughout the month of December to affix seeds, shrubs and of course, flowers.

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Curious about the float decorating process and materials used? Stop by Decorating Places for a behind-the-scenes look!

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An Adventure – and Internship – of a Lifetime

In addition to the 935 Tournament of Roses® volunteer members who contribute upwards of 80,000 hours of manpower, one dedicated group of students from Pasadena City College annually works alongside white suiters to produce America’s New Year Celebration®.

Each year, select members of PCC’s Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society join the Tournament of Roses family as PCC Interns. Assigned to one of the Tournament’s 31 operating committees, PCC Interns work closely with the Tournament’s volunteer members and gain valuable experiences and unforgettable memories.

2015 PCC Intern Orientation photo

Members of the 2014-2015 PCC Intern Class attend a welcome reception at Tournament House before beginning work with their committees.

Lydia Wang, a PCC Intern since fall 2013, spent the 2015 Rose Parade® season working with the Alumni/ Social Media Committee taking photos used for the Tournament of Roses social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

“I always feel so accomplished to see the photos I took at events actually get posted and shared on the Tournament’s official pages,” she said. “It is also so much fun to work with the committee members and the other interns!”

With more than 700,000 spectators lining the streets of Pasadena for the Rose Parade and approximately 90,000 that fill the Rose Bowl Stadium for the Rose Bowl Game®, PCC interns interact with a lot of people.

“When I volunteered for the 100th Rose Bowl Game Tailgate, a couple interns and I met Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple!

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After getting permission to take a photo with him on her phone, Tim Cook smiled at Lydia and then said “nice phone” when he saw her hold out her iPhone 5.

“While it’s nice to meet a celebrity at one of the events, it is not the only the purpose of volunteering for the Tournament of Roses. We (interns) can have a lot of fun but certain assignments can be challenging. I have a lot of good memories from volunteering and had so much fun on New Year’s Day!  It’s truly a wonderful and one-of-a-kind experience.”

For more information on the PCC Intern Program, visit our website!

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Tournament House – A Treasure Trove of History, Stories and Surprise

While the dates and times of Tournament House Tours are set each year for every Thursday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. from February through August, there’s no limit to the wealth of information available to guests who visit the property to learn about America’s New Year Celebration®.

Led by volunteers from the Tournament of Roses® Heritage Committee, docents incorporate stories and information that they’ve gathered throughout their years of service producing the Rose Parade® and Rose Bowl Game®; in addition to stories about the property’s 100-plus years on Orange Grove Boulevard in Pasadena.

Wrigley Mansion, the Orange Grove Boulevard estate, serves as the official headquarters of the Tournament of Roses Association, its staff and the 935 volunteers who work year-round to organize the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.

Wrigley Mansion, the Orange Grove Boulevard estate, serves as the official headquarters of the Tournament of Roses Association, its staff and the 935 volunteers who work year-round to organize the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game.

Like the docents, each room within the Wrigley Mansion has a story. Take the “Eisenhower Bathroom” for example. Located on the first floor opposite the staircase, this bathroom earned its name in 1964 when former president Dwight D. Eisenhower served as Grand Marshal of the Rose Parade.

Shortly before the parade was to begin, Eisenhower suddenly was nowhere to be found.  After an exhausted search of the home and mild panic by parade organizers, Eisenhower was located in the men’s restroom – where the door had jammed.  Between the mansion’s one-foot-thick reinforced concrete walls, solid mahogany door and the noise of the pre-parade preparations within Tournament House, it was nearly impossible for anyone to hear Eisenhower’s cries for help.  Fortunately, he was recovered just in time for the parade!

Following his rescue from the “Eisenhower Bathroom,” Dwight D. Eisenhower rides in the 1964 Rose Parade (ironically) themed, “Symbols of Freedom.”

Following his rescue from the “Eisenhower Bathroom,” Dwight D. Eisenhower rides in the 1964 Rose Parade (ironically) themed, “Symbols of Freedom.”

Open to the public, there’s no telling who will stop by Tournament House for a tour. Over the years, visitors have ranged from former Grand Marshals, Royal Court members and their families and others with ties to the property and the Tournament of Roses. Don’t miss your last chance to tour Tournament House and get a behind-the-scenes look at the history of Wrigley Mansion and America’s New Year Celebration before tours conclude on August 27!

For more information on House Tours, please visit our website.

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