This month of October, we detour to California for a wholly American floral tradition! One of the biggest floral traditions in the United States is Pasadena, California’s Tournament of Roses Parade, commonly known as the Rose Bowl Parade.
In 1890, Valley Hunt Club members, led by Charles Frederick Holder, sponsored the first Tournament of Roses. The abundance of flowers, even during winter, prompted the club to add a parade before the competition, where entrants would decorate carriages with hundreds of colorful blooms.
“In New York, people are buried in snow,” announced Professor Charles F. Holder at a Club meeting. “Here our flowers are blooming, and our oranges are about to bear. Let’s hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise.”
More than a century later, the parade floats are a marvel of state-of-the-art technology, all tucked away beneath flowers and other all-natural materials. Every New Year, visitors experience the beauty of the floral floats along with spirited marching bands and high-stepping equestrian units along the 5 ½ mile route down Colorado Boulevard.
Produced by the non-profit Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the parade usually starts at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time and includes flower-covered floats, marching bands, and equestrian units. The parade is followed in the afternoon by the Rose Bowl, one of the major bowl games in college football. First held on January 1, 1890, hundreds of thousands of spectators watch the Rose Parade each year. The Rose Bowl college football game was added in 1902 to help fund the cost of staging the parade. Since 2011, Honda has been a presenting sponsor of the Rose Parade. Accordingly, the company has the parade's first float, which like all floats, follows the parade's theme.
The Rose Parade’s elaborate floats have come a long way since the Tournament’s early days, and the Rose Parade has stayed true to its floral beginnings. Every inch of every float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark. The most delicate flowers, including roses, are placed in individual vials of water, which are set into the float one by one. People volunteer in the hundreds to have the chance to help decorate these beautiful, moving works of art!
FTD is the official floral partner of the Tournament of Roses. The iconic American company has been affiliated with the Rose Parade for more than 60 years. FTD decorates the antique automobiles which carry the Rose Parade VIPs down Colorado Boulevard including the Grand Marshal, Tournament of Roses President, Mayor of Pasadena and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame cars. FTD is also the sponsor of the Rose Parade Float Awards.
That’s it for October, join us in November for a look at Venice’s Carnival!