Wednesday was scheduled to be the longest day of the week long itinerary. Bandfest, where some of the Rose Parade bands play, was first, and then the Ronald Reagan library afterwards. Although it makes for a long day, I understand now why they split it. The band event last two days and if you are a marching band enthusiast I can certainly understand why you would want to attend both days, but for us a few hours was definitely enough. Unfortunately my high school marching band, Grove City High School, was not scheduled for band fest but I was still glad to see a bit of it. The event is held at Pasadena Community College, alma mater for Penny from Big Bang, and the campus was very nice. When we walked in we were given little drums and sticks and then this very energetic woman talked us through playing some rudimentary songs. It was fun and the crowd, myself included, really got into it, plus it was a great way to kill time while everyone got seated.
First up is the Pasadena City College Honor band which is comprised of current students, alumni, and some of the best and brightest from southern California high schools. I was particularly impressed by the herald section which walks in front of the rose princess float and the baton twirler who was absolutely excellent and really beautiful. It’s a dying art baton twirler and I know how hard it is as I spent many hours as a child trying to master it….never quite managed.
Next was the Albany State College Marching band. Their dancers were great and it was the long time dream of the band director to take his group to the parade
Marching in the Rose Bowl Parade is the “Super Bowl” for marching bands and they have to go through a rigorous competition process to make it
After the military group we walked back to the bus early. We were in the direct sun and as the morning went on I went from coat to fleece to short sleeve shirt and was still very hot. Plus I needed a little people break. We were eating lunch on the bus (Panera Catering which was very good) as we drove from Pasadena to Simi Valley and the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. This is by far the biggest presidential library in the country (made possible by generous contributions from Boone Pickens) and has an entire Air Force One plane inside of it, as well as Marine One and a presidential limosuine. It really was impressive, plus they had a special Christmas tree exhibit (with themed trees for each country President Reagan visited) and a football memorabilia gallery since he was such a football fan and was in a movie about Notre Dame. I liked the museum much better than I thought I would and absolutely recommend it (regardless of your political affiliations) if you are ever in the area.
And his 1983 limosine
The line for Air Force One was pretty long, but that is what we wanted to see the most. Even though they said no pictures, they let us take them as long as we kept the line moving. Have to say it doesn’t look anything like what you see on TV or in the news. Much smaller than I thought it would be.
And his 1983 limosine
Next we had a little snack and then continued with the tour. The building is three floors and built a bit like IKEA where you have to follow the path, but we did have plenty of time with our 4 hours to see everything we wanted.
In addition to the regular library items there were two extra exhibits. One was a Christmas tree themed with decorations from every country President Reagan visited. I really enjoyed those and there was a football exhibit because he was such a huge fan and I loved, loved that. They also had a very nice gift shop with lots of variety and although we didn’t buy anything they were doing a brisk business.
The grounds are also very beautiful and since the museum is up on a hill the views are spectacular. Plus he is buried on the property and you can visit the site. This makes my third presidential burial site, the others being John F. Kennedy and FDR. One of the people in our group, Harvey, has visted all of the presedential libraries except Herbert Hoovers and says this is by far the largest.
It was a long day, but a really cool museum and I am glad I went since this is probably not something I would have done on my own. We hit rush hour traffic though and didn’t get back until 7pm so it was a 12 hour day. So glad we have New Years Eve day off so I can catch up on some things and then the Rose Bowl Parade!!!!!