What began as a minor effort to promote the city’s charm and beautiful weather by Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club has since become America’s New Year Celebration. In 1890 during winter, club members brainstormed new ways to promote the “Mediterranean West .”Even mid-winter, the abundance of beautiful fresh flowers prompted the Vally Hunt Club to add a unique showcase for the city’s charm: a parade where entrants would decorate their carriages with thousands of blooms. “In New York, people are buried in snow,” Profession Charles F. announced at a Valley Hunt Club meeting. “Our flowers are blooming, and our oranges are about to bear. Let’s host a festival to show the world our paradise.”
The Rose Parade began as a promotional effort by the city’s club. And during the following years, the festival expanded to include motorized floats and marching bands. The games on the town lot (whose name was later changed to Tournament Park in 1900) included bronco-busting demonstrations, ostrich races, and a race between a camel and an elephant. The Tournament of Roses Association was formed in 1895, to execute the festival, which had grown too much for the club to handle.
The Rose Parade and the Tournament have come a long way since its early days. The Rose Parade’s elaborate carriages now feature high-tech computerized animation and natural resources from around the world. Although volunteers build a few carriages by exclusively sponsoring their communities, most are made by professional building companies and take nearly eleven months to construct. The almost year-long effort pays off every New Year’s morning when millions of people worldwide come together to enjoy the famous Rose Parade, considered an iconic New Year’s Day tradition by many.
The Rose Parade travels down Colorado Blvd. and features different entries: floral decorated floats by participating corporations, non-profit organizations or municipalities, bands, equestrian units, and Tournament Entries. Rose Parade participants have a long history with the Tournament and keep traditions alive.
The earliest Tournament welcomed 3,000+ spectators to its first parade filled with unique horse-drawn carriages covered in flowers. More than a century later, the parade carriage is a marvel of state-of-the-art technology; all tucked away under flowers and other natural resources.