Up close and personal: Rose Parade Float Showcase

Float at Rose Parade
Float at Rose Parade

For more than 120 years, the Rose Parade -- full of marching bands, horses, and floral floats -- has taken place on January 1 in Pasadena, California, just outside of Los Angeles. The beautiful famous floats are required to be completely covered by flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark, making each one a marvel.

Have you ever wanted to see the infamous Rose Parade Floats up close? Watching the parade is an unforgettable experience, but seeing the craftsmanship takes it to another level. For two days each year, you can see them in detail. They are on display on January 1st from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday, January 2nd from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (7 a.m. for senior citizens and disabled visitors). You are able to walk within a couple of feet of each float!

The Rose Parade was first held in 1890, when Professor Charles Holder suggested holding a festival to tell the world about California. That first year, two thousand people watched flower-covered carriages travel down Colorado Avenue. Today, there are bands, equestrian groups, and motorized floats that dazzle and inspire the imagination. It can take at least two hours to see all the floats on display after the parade, so arrive early and wear comfortable shoes (it's an estimated 2.5 mile distance display). Be aware that you will encounter crowds, so it's best not to be in a hurry.

If you're in Los Angeles, seeing the Rose Parade on New Year's Day is an absolutely must. If you can't make it to the parade (which is understandable, considering you have to get there by 6 a.m., and it's possible you have been out until 2 a.m. the night before), you can still experience the splendor and spirit by visiting the floats.

Location: End of Parade route on Sierra Madre Blvd.

Admission: $10, free for children five and under (Ticket sales end at 3:00 p.m.)

Click here for more information.

--Lesley Bracker

Photo credit: Flickr/I_vow_to_You

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