So, major check off the bucket list!! I’ve been thinking about how to approach this post because we have a ton of pictures from the parade day and the day we toured the floats themselves, plus I really want to tell people about the experience in case they ever decide to do it, so I am going to combine both days into one post. That means this one will have tons of float pictures (at the end) so if you don’t really care about the Rose Bowl Parade or floats you might want to skip this one all together. If you do care, Pam grab a couple of large cups of coffee, because it’s going to be a really long one! We needed to be on the bus by 4:45 am to take the bus down to the Rose Bowl parade because of traffic and the fact that the police close the street to crossing around 7am. I ended up getting up at 2am and then just stayed up until it was time to go. Our bus driver did a great job getting us down there and then we all walked a couple of city blocks to our assigned seating. It was dark and pretty chilly, but thankfully we were next to a grocery store Ralph’s that was open and as promised we had plenty of port a john’s underneath our bleacher. The main reason I spent the money on this tour was access to those bathrooms and although they were not closed off to the general public as we thought they would be, they were easily accessible and pretty clean as those things go. We went into the store first and Lee got a hot breakfast burrito and I got some water. I have to say those folks were doing an outstanding job. It was all hands on deck, but even fully staffed as the morning wore on they got crazy busy. About 1.2 million people visit the Rose Bowl parade every year and the closer to the 8am start it got the more they showed. The bandstand seats were tight. Being in the middle of our group of people we knew really helped though, and I was very glad we had brought our stadium cushions. Not only did they help with the chill, but they also helped delineate where your seat started and stopped.
Crowds at 5:45 am
Some enterprising vendors were already out
We saw many groups that had camped overnight
Ralph’s had huge urns of coffee but the line was crazy long
And tons of hot breakfast burritos
Our seats were great, right next to a press area
Our seats up in the stands
The restroom area
Lots of Hawkeye fans near us
The Goodyear blimp was overhead
Despite the crowds and chill, which was better when surrounded by all the people in the grandstands, it was fun. The only sour note was a preacher walking up and down the street yelling through a loud speaker about us all going to hell. I was particularly offended by his sign which stated the pope was the anti-christ. I mean seriously, did he really think that was a good way to get his message across? Surprisingly the police let him be though and the last 15 minutes before the road totally cleared for the parade was filled with his negative message. Things got exciting again when the stealth bomber flew overhead. Sorry no pictures; it was fast and of course nearly silent, and then the parade started. The parade itself was great, it was fun seeing the floats with people on them and somehow despite the crowds the parade managed to maintain a feel of the small town parades of my youth…which was great. At one point I went down to the restrooms and saw a couple of them from ground level and they let the crowds get really close. Really really neat. [For pictures of the floats scroll down to the end].
We were in the middle of this row
Folks across the street had nice views and less crowds, but they camped out
Towards the very end of the parade we had another incident which I am sure you have heard about where 5 planes made long anti-Trump messages in the sky. Again, I have no issue with people trying to get their message out, but it was very negative and certainly distracted from the end of the parade. I was incredibly impressed by the technicality of the sky writing itself though. By far the best I have ever seen and kind of a free air show. When the parade ended the streets flooded with Bernie Sanders fans and they followed the end of the parade down the street. I had no idea the parade was so political but I guess with that many people so close together, folks can’t resist.
“America is great”…started out nice
“Trump is disgusting”. That got the crowd buzzing
And then “Anybody but Trump.US” . Lasted a really long time and made a complete circle around us. They said more stuff but I stopped taking pictures and tried to focus back on the parade
Big Bernie puppet was kind of creepy
The look on Chris’ face really says it all.
Our bus driver again did a fantastic job getting us out of there and we were all pretty tired when we got back to the rig at noon. The last day of the Hop was the Parade of Floats, where they park the floats on a closed street and you can walk along the floats (without the people riding on them, or the music or movement) and really get up close and personal. This ticket only costs $10 (compared to the $95 for VIP parade tickets) and was well worth it. Again the crowds were kind of crazy, but we spent hours and hours walking amongst the floats and taking pictures [they are at the bottom]. Finally I called my limit and we headed back to the bus and we all left around 2pm. After a farewell dinner, we exchanged information with lots of folks (RV information cards are great) and did a little bit of readiness for our trip to Quartzsite. Overall, the HOP was terrific. It was reasonably priced ($895 per person) and I thought it was a huge value. We saw many things I would have never done without the HOP itinerary and I got to put a major check box on a bucket list item. If you are interested in an Escapees HOP check out their website. I really do recommend them and I will definitely be renewing my annual membership for Escapees. I was on the fence about the value of the club, but after this experience I am not only convinced, but want to get more involved. We gave Lisa our information and talked about possibly volunteer leading a HOP in the future.
Alright, you’ve waited long enough for the floats. These are not necessarily in the order they appeared in the parade and I didn’t do every single one, but here are the pictures that Lee took during the parade, mixed together with the close up photos we both took during the post-parade display. Enjoy!!
(Dede, this is especially for you!)
American Heart Association
Lutheran Layman’s League
Not sure what these are. Looks like the hollow part of coral.
Amazing detail on this wing.
The bachelor float was a big hit and really cool with the hot tub.
It won the presidents award and truly the detail on the shells was amazing.
I was disappointed in the Honda Float this year. Liked the concept. two floats, one representing Japan the other the US, joined in the middle, but usually they do something innovative. They didn’t even win an award. This is the front of the float.
The monkeys were well done.
And the eagle was great. Probably the best I saw of several.
Contrarily the City of Burbank float was amazing and won the Theme award.
The bear and fish were animated; the fish would jump up out of the water, and the paws were catching the fish, so cool.
Loved this sign because we were just in those places.
I also really enjoyed the California Milk float, which won a special trophy.
It looked really simple but close up pretty great.
You can see the most amazing detail went into making it.
The china airlines float we worked on won best International float.
The snake was great.
And these fish were decorated with leaves our group worked on. They turned out really good.
I wasn’t that crazy about the Los Angeles float, which won the mayors trophy, but they did have some very neat touches
This wave was fantastic, and yes it smelled wonderful
Lee liked the camera crane, which was constantly moving up and down.
And I appreciated the use of grapefruit as a decoration.
The Disney float was of course amazing and very crowded at the Parade of Floats exhibit. It definitely deserved the Extraordinaire Trophy.
The millennium falcon turned out great.
Bridges connected the three peices.
And they had straps for the kids that were standing on them I was glad to see.
This is where I put flowers on the castle and I got to touch those trees. I know, I’m a dork, right? 🙂
The big draw of the LA Lakers float which won a special trophy was that Kareem Abdul Jabar, and Paula Abdul were riding on it. But you can hardly tell who people are when you are watching the parade.
The ball rotated though and was really well done.
This float was built by one of the Tournament Associations and won best animation. It was very well done. The volunteers pick the best design and this was one of those floats that was so much better close up.
The detail on the fish was outstanding. Those are limes used for scales, very neat.
The Kiwanis float was another little float with a lot going on.
The parrot was great.
This Kaiser Permanente depiction of mother nature won the Grand Marshall’s trophy. I thought it looked a little creepy when done, but the detail was really cool.
They used peas for the eyes or maybe even limes. It was too far away to tell for sure.
The bees were amazing.
And the hummingbirds. I liked the entire float actually except for the face of Mother Nature.
The City of Irvine float was ok. Had some nice animation and pretty impressive on a city budget.
The Lion’s Club float was really cute and they were selling sweatshirts as fund raisers. I got one just like the kids wore on the float for $26. Pretty cool and a great cause.
This tree shows how the tall parts of a float must be hinged in order to lower to get under one of the bridges on the road to the parade route.
Loved the Raccoon.
The Dole Float was Lees favorite and won the Directors award
It was cool because the people on it zip lined between two towers. One always had to be taller than the other to allow the constant back and forth ziplining, so one of the towers was on a hydraulic lift and would go up or down as needed. Great engineering!
Plus the surrounding foliage and animals were amazing.
These plants in nut pots were awesome
Really good faces on the animals
Great detail on the snake
And they even had Dole fruit on the float …very nice
The everglades float was ok but not as good as the Dole one
I thought the camel float was really fun and it won the Isabella Coleman award which is best presentation of color. Many years this is my favorite but not this year
Kiehl’s beauty of adventure won the Crown City Innovation award.
The eagle was very well done
Farmers Insurance had a fun RV float
The color of the statue of liberty was achieved using blended parsley and peas
The City of Glendale won the Governors Trophy for best depiction of California
The mission was very pretty close up
The oranges were colored with lentils
Loved how they used peanuts to simulate bees. Even up close you had to look twice
Had enough of the floats yet? Well, we are only halfway done. I totally understand if you want to give up here, but there are some cool ones coming up including Downton Abbey and a fire breathing dragon…just saying. Oh and interspersed between the floats were the horses and bands, but since you saw many of those in previous posts I left them out of here except for a couple I wanted to share we didn’t see at band fest.
Always love when the bands come from hawaii
This band was from Mexico City and I loved their hats
The wagons all covered in flowers were pretty
There were pooper scoopers along the route for the horses which was fun, the crowd always goes crazy when a horse poops, and then there’s a lot of excitement when a band comes along, while everyone watches to see if someone will step in the manure, and then along comes the scoopers to clean it up, and the crowd always cheers.
This was the very best flag I saw at the parade of floats
Every float had a volunteer who could explain what the float was made from. I talked to several.
Crazy crowd still coming into the parade of floats as we were going out. This pictures captures the phrase “sea of humanity”. Still, despite my uncomfortableness with large crowds I would do it again, because the floats themselves are so amazing close up.
Mules from the National Parks service
I wore my 2016 shirt I bought in Glacier to celebrate the them and 100 years of National parks
Ken Burns the Grand Marshall rode in a restored Yellowstone Wagon from the 40’s
This float won the Past Presidents award and was presented by Northwest Mutual
The detail on the skirt was beautiful close up
They had numerous full arrangements on board
These iconic images went around the ballerina on a turntable
I like the Odd Fellows and Rebekkah’s very much and this year a couple got married on the float. Lee captured them kissing
I like the detail they put into their floats even though they are small
This Fishing Follies float from Pasadena won the National award
Wonderful detail close up. You can really tell when the group working on them has a passion for it
PBS made this float to celebrate the last season of Downtown Abbey
Absolutely fabulous close up and worth the $10 we paid for the float viewing by itself
The people in the car looked alot like people on the show
Loved the use of green apples here
The Rose Court. The chairs looked pretty comfortable but the float design is always the same and uninspired. It definitely needs a refresh!
This rotary club float was small but packed a punch
My absolute favorite single entity of the day was the squirrel on the turtle holding the snail up to a flower, while a ladybug helps push the flower down. The fur on the squirrel was truly amazing.
This entry won the animation trophy
The detail was great
Loved the paddles
South Dakota Float
The Shriners entry won the volunteers trophy
The Princesses award went to the City of Torrance and this one was super cute
Those were real balloons on the Trader Joes float
Trader Joe’s was fun
The float was powered by hot sauce 🙂
The Sikh float has some nice detail
Where the driver sits
The West Virginia University Children’s Miracle Network float was very nice
I loved these cascade of roses
The trees and bridge were great
Thought of Denny when I saw this
The sweepstakes winner and well deserved. It breathed fire !!
The claws were made with oranges!!
Whoever did the eyes did an outstanding job
And here it is, my favorite float. The craftsman award winner
The deer were great
The bears were great. Lee was a little scared though 🙂
What does the fox say??
So if you are reading this good, for you!! This post took me at least 8 hours to put together between going through the pictures and writing all this. I am exhausted, lol. Don’t look for another one like this in a long time, but I hope you enjoyed it!!
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