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.


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.


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

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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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Introducing the 2014 Royal Court

Seven bouquets of red roses were laid out the morning of Monday, October 7, awaiting the seven about-to-be-named Royal Court members. Amid the upbeat music of the Pasadena City College Lancer Band, the air was tense with anticipation as reporters, classmates, and family and friends of the Royal Court finalists filled the south lawn of Tournament House.

Inside the house, the 30 finalists nervously waited for their cues – each clinging to her white suiter escort and grasping a single red rose. Following opening remarks by the Chair of the Queen and Court Committee, Alex Young, they emerged one-by-one to cheers from the crowd and descended the stairs, hoping to hear their name called once more.

The beaming finalists held their breath as Tournament of Roses President Scott Jenkins asked for the envelopes. After a month-long interview process, the wait would soon be over.

Swept up in a wave of shock and excitement upon hearing her name, each princess made her way to the front of the stage. They stood smiling – and shaking – until all seven princesses had been named. Finally, these young women, chosen for their poise, speaking ability, academic achievement, and community involvement, stood before the crowd ready to serve as Tournament of Roses ambassadors:

Jamie Ann Kwong (#24), 17, La Salle High School; Sarah Elizabeth Hansen (#408), 19, Pasadena City College; Ana Marie Acosta (#474), 17, Polytechnic School; Katherine Diane Lipp (#253), 17, La Cañada High School; Elyssia Hadi Widjaja (#86), 17, San Marino High School; Elizabeth Katie Woolf (#254), 17, La Cañada High School; and Kayla Diyana Johnson-Granberry (#446); 17, Pasadena High School.

What’s next for the Royal Court? One of the seven princesses will be announced and crowned as the 96th Rose Queen on Thursday, October 24, at 7 p.m., at First Church of the Nazarene of Pasadena. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase from Sharp Seating Company.

Want to hear more about the 2014 Royal Court? Join us on the official Royal Court Facebook page and follow their journey as they make more than 100 appearances leading up to the Rose Parade presented by Honda and the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO.

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