Rose Parade – Mostly Non-Float Pics

Since I seem to be into parades, I got challenged by my friend Chimatli to check out the Rose Parade this year. At first I thought no way, not that old fashioned institution of American myth making, I don’t even look forward to watching it on cruda morning New Year’s Day, even though it’s usually on anyways. But actually being there? Isn’t that what tourists do? Could I even get up that early? Well, a challenge isn’t easy so I said, por que no, gotta try everything at least once! Tie your shoes cuz I’m going in!

I was gonna start with a pic of the Metro Gold Line but as soon as we were parking the train pulled up, oh shit! Fuck the fare, lets just go! I have to say, starting off the year still groggy and choosing to cheat the Metro felt like a great way to start the year. Woot! There were lots of people on the train as well, but I was trying to wake up, my shoe was untied, so I hadn’t pulled out my camera yet. At around 8:05 am there was already an out the door line at the King Taco. Crazy.

Throwing out the Xmas tree on New Years Day, not such a bad idea. Christmas Day, now that’s another story.

Damn! It’s packed! That is some deep seating there, not sure if they’re even gonna get a good view.

The smart ones are always at the back, they probably just arrived with coffee in hand and a step ladder for a good view. If you plan on going to the parade next year, this is the route to go.

Most seating was this type, so low on the ground that you’ll probably have to stand anyways.

I could see why it might be fun to camp out on a sidewalk waiting for the parade, especially if you have your own fire pit to keep you warm through the night!

Looks like the Cotton Candy-eros were also camping out.

And of course, the bacon wrapped hot doggeros were out in full force. I have to say, at this early hour those greasy dogs smelled worse than ever.

I was taking pictures of the KROQ van (possibly the shittiest radio station in LA) and the dude actually slowed down so I could get a good pic of him, how lame is that? Fuera mamon!

The bathroom lines this morning were long! I’m gonna bet those porta potties weren’t in the best shape either, if you know what I mean. That’s a good enough reason not to camp out overnight.

The skywriter planes were out just to wish us a Happy 2009, that’s nice of them.

There is suppossed to be a ban on silly string. Yeah, right.

Now that’s an ambulante I’d like to see in my neighborhood: fresh squeezed OJ!

The parade started late, I hear because they were waiting for bomber jets to flyover or something. I guess they were busy killing civilians in some far off land.

The truth comes out, the skywriters had an ulterior motive; to promote some stupid tv show. Fucking bomber jets weren’t around to take care of them either.

A Mexican flag and another Cotton Candy-ero. Most of the crowd seemed quite groggy and sleepy at this early hour.


Most surprising about this parade was the vast amount of Raza that lined the streets, I guess a free event is always a draw. But the ticketed seats were pretty much mono-color.

I’m not sure how this tortilla throwing thing started but it’s also supposedly banned. What they won’t do to keep the Mexicans out! Someone challenged the ban.

Yet another grown man picking out some cotton candy. Pareces niño!

Another Mexican flag, and I’ve yet to see a US one. I bet some old guys from Oklahoma are fuming!

I think this person under the blankets was still cold.

This dude was stiff, he looks like he could sure use a coffee!

What the? The main reason I don’t want to wait out the New Year in Pasadena is cuz they ban alcohol on the street, which is pretty lame. Why can’t they recreate the awesome World Cup street party from back in ’94, a raucous street festival of drinking, celebrating, and non-stop samba dancing? Some rebels obviously took matters into their own hands! Congrats!

This has got to be the best parade viewing experience, sprawled out in bed on a public street. It’s even better than being on your couch at home.

Sheriff’s van with the destination of Twin Towers, I guess they want to scare people.

Hmm, this guy looked like a certain Nightmare of the Elf I used to know. But it wasn’t him.

I’m gonna assume that this is not the best place to watch the parade.

Parade programs 1 for $7, 2 for 10.

What a waste of good tortillas, you all should pick them up, shake of the dirt, and make some street chilaquiles on one of those camping stoves. Redeem yerselves!

A group of oldie bike riders were out ringing their bells, begging for attention.

Look! It’s the wildly bored lady from last nights post!

Not sure what this guy was all about, but he sure does put on the smile for the camera!

Cold bacon and english muffins. I was actually more fascinated with the food people were eating than with the floats.

Looks like these folks will stay warm!

Korean kids with horns decorated with Mexican flags. Some people have no problems dealing with a bit of other, and then some people get all crabby when other shows up on their twitter streams. Pobrecitos.

The poor man’s laptop, aka bringing the whole computer with you.

Oh boo, the military bombers did show up. I’m always amazed that people cheer these war machines, almost as if they are either unaware of the purpose or are perfectly secure in the thought that they’ll never see this sight coming in towards them with hostile intents. Stupid Bob Eubanks almost had an orgasm on tv as he saw this killing plane fly over. Above, you can see some other stupid people cheering along, fucking clods.

Trash was being neatly collected on fences everywhere.

We’d been walking up the parade route to see things, which is better than just standing and waiting for it all to happen. Finally the parade shows up. Pretty late if you ask me. Hats off to entertainment? Doesn’t the city of LA already go pants off for entertainment? I don’t think this theme is going to get me excited.

A giant robot from some car company that’s developing a helper monkey.

Martians on the Trader Joe’s float.

Again, I was quite surprised at the homogeneous display of reserved seat sitters, maybe Hector Tobar will write something about this lack of diversity. I wonder how snowy it looked on the parade route closer to Orange St? No doubt this is also a class issue, as these seats are pretty expensive. At least on the sidewalks it was pretty diverse, even though it was mostly people of color.

Some color in the parade as well, but it only came in spurts.

Ladies, the parade is free! Stop trying to bargain with this swindler!

Oh yeah, the floats. This animated one was kinda cool.

The 99¢ store was empty! Even the cashiers were hanging out by the window.

I was hoping to get some vegtable samosas and a pint at this British Pub but they went and closed for New Years Day. Boo for me, yay for them.

This is probablly the only time in the year Pasadena tolerates people sleeping on the street, cuz they’re the right kind of people I assume?

These old washing machines turned into fire pits were all the rage.

Wow, how sad is it to have to pay for some of the worst seats in the parade? You can’t tell from this pic but people were standing on chairs right in front, not a very good view thru the fence at all.

Some ladies in flower cups. I wouldn’t have noticed but someone mentioned that this lady makes great hand bags, thus that red one. How are people supposed to know these things?

My first tamal sighting.

The liquor store was also open but kinda empty, though they did have a huge coffee table filled with n’joy products.

Now that’s a lousy breakfast: Cup Noodles and sugar wafers. Yuck.

Flamin’ Hot Cheetos to the rescue!

I bet you they bought these dogs last year, not much new to them.

Watching the parade on tv, cuz live just isn’t enough!

More bad pay seats. Looks like everyone got up to get a better view anyways.

Right around this area the parade started resembling a funeral route: the crowd was docile and super quiet. WTF? At least some of these hotel patrons were being loud and cheering, maybe due to some early morning drinks? In any case, the cheering was a reminder that I was still at a parade.

Card playing to kill the time.

Burritos heading to Belen.

Uhh, this is the Helen Keller float, with an obviously blind guy and his seeing -eye dog on the float. Maybe you all should do something other than wave? Since Helen Keller was a commie pinko, I had to step in and contribute some loud whistling!

This breakfast of cereal and milk was way too sweet, at least for my tastes.

Oh no! A banana peel on the streets of Pasadena! Will cindylu almost trip and write a post about them as well? The world awaits in breathless anticipation! 😉

You Pasadena people must be loaded to be throwing away almost 3/4 of a pizza, and all it needed was some red peppers and removal of meat slices. Dumpster divers, its just one more step to become table surfers, or in this case, sidewalk surfers.

Some college got people all excited about some guys about to throw around a ball.

Oh shit, we’ve been walking for awhile, and we were now at Sierra Madre. The crowd here was kinda dumb and didn’t understand the concept of keeping a walkway clear. After much pushing and shoving we got through this mass of humanity. But damn, that was tiring.

“You need to have a ticket because we are all sold out.” Security for the special classes.

A balloon.

Tender moments with a dog.

Looks like someone went on a popper frenzy!

More sidewalk cooking. The pancakes tasted especially good after a two block sprint being chased by the chef. No syrup, but a free pancake is a free pancake!

More floats. I don’t know, even though they are nice and intricate, I think they look better on tv. The notion that you have to be there to see them is a myth.

Haha, these chumps got suckered into some super lousy seats, they’re like super far from the actual parade! Money can often buy you misery.

Hmm, I’m thinking this is a fake palm tree?

The Martin’s Family claim to fame it that it has been attending this parade for 61 years. Mine used to be that I’d never been here. I think mine was better.

The fashionable washtub firepit.

Kids having more fun playing with the illegal silly string, staying far away from the actual parade.

Now I see where the party was happening!

A young couple enjoys the guy on a horse with a rope.

Yup, illegal.

The float in tribute of Bollywood broke down and was being pulled by a tow truck. But the colorful elephant was still holding strong.

I think this is from a French cartoon?

El Zorro Negro, as the lady in front claimed.

Wow, finally an ambulante worthy of my change.

When I asked what tamales he had left he said that sadly he “only” had cheese. Come on people, buy cheese tamales! This one was actually very good.

Seating for the Anti-social crowd.

Alice in Wonderland float. Cool!

The Mad Hatter had too much special tea. Fucking borracho.

Chicken parts in a party hat.

Some hoodlums went and decapitated Big Bird. That’s so mean. But maybe he does talk too much.

Cheese and crackers plate.

There were lots of pro-Obama shirts around.

Hey, why is that Grouch holding a Mexican maraca? Are you all trying to tell me something?

White dude does the cabbage patch. Enjoy!


…good times…


Some group from Puebla, Mexico was also in the parade. There were lots of cheers when they came by. And some nervous but polite clapping by some white guy in front of me, I think it was a sign that he likes Mexicans, that was nice of him.

They had on some cool masks, played very well, and even did a version of Cielito Lindo. It was kinda exciting to see a group of Mexicans in the parade, I guess it takes a group from another country to reflect the look of So. Cal. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a case about it, we are well used to this story.

This guy needs a little more practice.

This one knows the ropes! (harhar) Here we see him walking a loop, it was quite impressive.

Oh yes, this is a perfect picture. The overpowering image of Los Angeles and So. Cal is represented by that “Surf City” family on the float. In front of that mythical and idyllic version of our city, the invisible Brown person trying to make a living. Waiters, busboys, valets, gardeners, contractors, whatever: as long as they are just serving a purpose, they become invisible. We see you, you don’t see us.

Damn, this shit is trendy!

Papitas pa’ morir.

This mom was trying hard to get attention of her son carrying that banner. She was finally successful.

Notice the wooden seats to compensate for the slope. Not sure where they got them, but that kinda foresight was cool to see. The dude in yellow up on top had a huge matraca that he would spin around when he liked a particular float.

Oh man, I need some more of that coffee!

Even punks like a parade!

Tuna and Mayo salad.

That float designer vato with the macaw.

Even punks like taking pictures in front of the parade.

Since I’d only had 4 hours of sleep, I was envious of this guys prime sleeping spot!

Is there a ban on shaving cream? I guess it doesn’t matter!

Wanted: Courage, Heart, and Brains. In short supply everywhere.

Ambulantes in training. Nobody wants packaged candy apples though, pa’ que sepan.

Walking toward the Sierra Madre station (yes, we walked all that way) a girl leaving the parade decided she wants to release her balloon. Her mom complies.

Oh, that’s what the sign said.

In summary: The floats aren’t all that. Nice but whatever. Much of the parade seemed like a funeral procession, with a dead crowd all around, the more animated crowds are near Old Town. If you want to camp out overnight, bring snacks, hidden alchoholic beverages, a group of friends, a pack of cards, a way to keep warm, and toilet paper. If you show up early in the morning, bring step ladders or be ready to stand in the way of others. Bring small bills for food. Have your shoving elbow ready if you’re gonna try to walk through the crowds on the sidewalk. Expect some mean glances from those that don’t expect sidewalk walking on this day.

Would I do it again? Hmm, not sure. For the most part, the parade lacked a sense of festivity, almost as if it was a chore or last option. It was kinda cool to be around so many people out on the street for a purely fun event.  But I could see making it an interesting event, assuming you get the right people and enough fuel for the party fire, if you know what I mean. It has possibilities. The event is a bit stratisfied, but what isn’t nowadays?

Happy New Years!

10 thoughts on “Rose Parade – Mostly Non-Float Pics

  1. “Oh yes, this is a perfect picture. The overpowering image of Los Angeles and So. Cal is represented by that “Surf City” family on the float. In front of that mythical and idyllic version of our city, the invisible Brown person trying to make a living. Waiters, busboys, valets, gardeners, contractors, whatever: as long as they are just serving a purpose, they become invisible. We see you, you don’t see us.” — Wait!!! You mean that vendor is not part of that float? I am disappointed 🙁

    “A young couple enjoys the guy on a horse with a rope.” Does that guy happen to be a Charro? Is that an “Escaramuza” in the background? What happened to the rest of the picture? Here’s more info on Charrería Mexicana:

    BTW, I just heard on the radio that there was approx. 70 tons of trash created by the people watching the parade.

  2. Last year I watched the parade in bed. Later in the day, I braved the crowds to check out the floats where they park them by some high school. It was cool to see them up close as you really get to see all of the detail and different organic materials that go into creating them.

    I’ve only been to the actual parade twice. Once we camped out with my cousin’s who live near the route. The second time I was in the parade with the UCLA band. We only had to look nice and play well for the cameras. After that we’d play every so often, but sometimes (like if it was stalled) would just stop, break ranks and talk to the spectators.

    Oh yeah, and that banana looks unlikely to harm anyone. Folks don’t usually step to close to curbs. And I didn’t trip! I slipped.

  3. I got the whole history of tortilla throwing and subsequent ban down, and it began with the Doo Dah Parade not the Rose.

    In the beginning Doo-Dah’ers lining the parade’s route would fling tortillas across the street Frisbee-style at each other. This was fine and harmless with fresh flapping tortillas, but then some wiseguys realized dried out ones flew better/farther/faster/straighter. They also tended to hurt more if they went a stray and smack/crackled upside someone’s head.

    Low and behold, during one Doo Dah around 1990, a member of the Synchronized Lawyers Briefcase Drill Team — a fave Doo Dah entry — got caught in the crossfire and took a stale tortilla to the head. In true litigious fashion said victim either threatened to sue the City of Pasadena, and the drill team as a whole said they would boycott future parades until the safety of a tortilla-free parade could be guaranteed.

    Thus the reason why it is now illegal to throw a tortilla in Pasadena.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

  4. “I was gonna start with a pic of the Metro Gold Line but as soon as we were parking the train pulled up, oh shit! Fuck the fare, lets just go!” El Chavo.

    The only section of the Gold Line that they frisk you is Highland Park, though occaionally they’ll do it around Chinatown if there are enough brown kids to warrant harassment. Pasadeannies (south of Colorado of course) don’t fare evade, their parade has paid seating!

    Great shots, though the commentary is what keeps me scrolling.


  5. 1. I can’t believe you went. 2. I can’t believe you walked from Memorial Park to the end of the parade! On New Year’s morning no-less. Great photos and commentary as always.

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