Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Time to ring in 2009. Our family makes the 25-mile annual pilgrimage to Pasadena to party on Colorado Boulevard at midnight then awaken with a front row seat to one of the most beautiful parades in existence, the Rose Parade.

Morning arrivals to The Boulevard (part of historic Route 66) require ladder seating, while sleep overs require warm clothing and blankets (or a snooze in the ol’ SUV for us wimps;) When my son and nieces were little, we added a wooden plank between our ladders. The little ones sat there with snacks, hot chocolate, and a bird’s eye view of the morning festivities.

New Year's Eve promises lots of activity on the streets near Colorado and Orange Grove! Watch out for silly string and shaving cream pies if you cruise the boulevard in your car; notice street campsites staked out with portable heaters, air mattresses, and chairs; see local reporters comb the area for news stories too; and if you venture south on Raymond around 10 PM, you may get a peek at flowered floats being moved from their ‘barn’ to the staging area on Orange Grove. Last, but never least, make a stop at Jakes. We do! The best sliders, burgers, and homemade chili you’ll find anywhere. Yum!

Colorado quiets slightly a few hours before daybreak, but morning reveals hustle and bustle and anticipation. The Parade will begin with a breathtaking flyover. You can hear a pin drop...just before the roar. Marching bands, incredible floats, beautiful flowers, equestrian units, and celebrity Grand Marshals make a chilly night on the street very worthwhile....

From past parades, I loved seeing the marching Storm Troopers from Star Wars, and Grand Marshal George Lucas...

...watched Kareem Abdul Jabbar talk on his cell phone while riding shotgun on a stagecoach. Must have been a matter of life and death (she says with tongue in cheek;)

...and I always marvel at designer Raul Rodriguez’s creations. He’s a local boy who won a float-designing contest as a teenager, then made it his career. Look for him and his beautiful blue macaw...

Then plan your trip to Pasadena for New Years 2010!