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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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!


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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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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Royal Court Fashion

For 96 years, members of the Tournament of Roses® Royal Court have served as ambassadors to the Association and City of Pasadena. Balancing school, work and extracurricular activities, seven young women are selected each year to represent and serve the community – in style.

While today’s Royal Court receives a wardrobe courtesy of Macy’s and gowns from Tadashi Shoji, the first Rose Queen® and early Royal Court members sewed their own dresses, crafted headdresses and even assisted in building their float!

Reflecting their respective eras through the fashion of their times, Royal Courts have left lasting impressions on millions throughout the Pasadena area. Take a walk through history with these photos showcasing each Royal Court’s unique style.


1905 Rose Queen Hallie Woods

1905 Rose Queen Hallie Woods


Hallie Woods, the first Rose Queen in 1905, reflected the haute couture movement that was prevalent at the turn of the century. This movement featured an abundance of lace, tight collars and upswept hair.


1929 Rose Queen and Royal Court

1929 Royal Court


In the 20s, an era marked by the drop-waist “flapper” dress, sheer stockings and bobbed hair, the Royal Court was right in step with the fashions of the time.


1951 Rose Queen and Royal Court

1951 Royal Court


Wartime courts sported sleek, pared-back styles, while the 1950s brought prim and proper dresses, with tiny waists, lavish skirts and pin-curled hair.


1972 Royal Court

1972 Royal Court


The 70s brought mod-squad inspired fashions featuring bright colors and playful prints.


1989 Royal Court

1989 Royal Court


The 80s were filled with big shoulders and equally big hair (no open flames, please!). This was the decade of both the first Asian-American Rose Queen, Leslie Kawai in 1981, and the first African-American Rose Queen, Kristina Smith in 1985.


1993 Royal Court

1993 Royal Court


After years of form fitting gowns, the 90s styles were more relaxed with a minimal fit and professional style.


Regardless of the fashion trends of the era, Royal Court members continue to outshine their wardrobe with poise, personality and confidence making them outstanding representatives of the Tournament of Roses and exceptional role models.


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