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I love a parade(1 post)

I love a parademr_spin
Dec 31, 2001 9:35 AM
So the Rose Parade is coming up....

As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, we used to go out to Pasadena every year and sit on the side of the road to watch the parade. Now that I've moved away, I catch a little on TV every year but it isn't the same. It's just a parade--not a family outing and adventure that included a rare breakfast of donuts. And, watching on TV you only see the "good" side of the parade. It's packaged and produced and too good to be true.

Here's what you miss unless you go in person and don't sit near the TV cameras:

- At least 25% of the floats break down and have to be towed by AAA (yes, triple-A!). These things aren't built for a lifetime of use! The only goal is to get around the corner and past the TV cameras. The parade will stop a lot because of broken floats.

- Marching bands only play about half the time. A lot of times they march by with only the drum corps keeping cadence. But when they play, it is marvelous. Only the best bands make the Rose Parade, as well as the bands for the two teams in the Rose Bowl (which are invariably among the best). My favorite was always the Michigan band because they sounded great and seemed to have the most fun when NOT playing. If only they can get back to the Rose Bowl...

- Equestrians suck. Nothing against horses per se, but what is so special about riding a horse in a parade? A float you have to build--it's arts and crafts. Bands have to march and play. Horses? They just do what horses do--walk. What was the great effort here? Cleaning them? Big deal. Besides, they crap everywhere and everyone following has to march or drive through it. Horses should be banned from parades, unless police are mounted on them. Or at least put them all last.

- It is freezing out there. The people who do the parade might look cheery the whole time, but they are freezing! It is typically 40F for the first hour. If you get in the sun, it is bearable (a tip for those who might go and watch--the north side of the street is best).

- Floats that are only oriented southward just plain suck. The TV cameras are on the south side, so this is just playing to the cameras. The parade is five miles long, which means five miles worth of people only see the "back" of whomever or whatever is on the float.

- You can tell how cool a "celebrity" is by how they act when the parade stops. Sometimes people will run out to the floats and try to get autographs. Many celebrities will refuse, but the cool ones will always sign. And the crowd will show it's approval. People also grab flowers off the floats.

- I don't know if you can see it on TV, but there is a blue line running down Colorado Blvd. That's how the float drivers navigate--track the blue line. There are also pink lines that are the crowd limit lines.

- After the last float comes the garbage parade. A full armada of garbage trucks and a squadron of garbagemen track the parade picking up tons of trash left by spectators. It's really amazing. Want to get rid of that old couch? Bring it out to Pasadena, sit on it during the parade, then walk away when the parade is over. There are also all kinds of nuts with bullhorns and pamphlets. Usually there's a lot of apocalyptic type religious stuff, which is strewn everywhere, then promptly picked up by the garbage brigade.

Ah, the Rose Parade. The Rose Bowl. Oops, the Rose Bowl is played until Thursday. That's just wrong. Oh well.

Enjoy! Happy New Year!