A Myriad of Flowers: The Tournament of Roses Parade

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy 2014 everyone!  I'm back from a short holiday vacation with family in Pasadena, CA where we attended the Tournament of Roses Parade on New Year's Day followed by the Rose Bowl football game.  What fun!

The Tournament of Roses began in 1890 when Pasadena's Valley Hunt Club members began promoting the city and its lovely winter weather to their East Coast friends by holding a series of games on New Year's Day.  A parade was held before the games where many fresh flowers were used to decorate carriages in celebration of California's abundance of sunshine and flowers.  This has evolved into the elaborate "Parade of Roses" well-known today as America's New Year's Celebration, attended by hundreds of thousands of people and viewed on television by millions.

While at the parade I took some photos of the exquisite floral creations that adorned the floats.  The large number of flowers used is astounding. According to the Tournament of Roses website, each float is decorated with more flowers than the average florist uses in five years.  Also, each is fully covered with flowers and organic materials like seeds and bark.  Every inch of the surface space must be filled and designs take a year to complete.  They are quite spectacular!

Roses mixed with orchids form a lovely spray of flowers decorating the back of one of the floats. This unique combination of color and texture is stunning!

The float sponsored by Macy's features a classic palette of red and white to suggest the store's branding.  Also, the float carried the Royal Court of Parade Princesses and the 2014 Rose Queen, Ana Marie Acosta.

In a colorful celebration of the garden, the float sponsored by Miracle-Gro plant fertilizer was covered with many varieties of garden flowers and beautiful monarch butterflies dancing through a tree.

This colorful creation sponsored by the Singpoli Group, a transpacific real estate investment company, sought to fuse Eastern and Western culture.  The mythical winged horses, or "tianma" reflect 2014 as the dawning of the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.  Pagoda style buildings and cascades of orchids in vibrant purple hues further reflect the cultural theme of the float.

The rich vegetation, animals and fish found in Indonesian culture are captured in this detailed float design sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia.  Many orchid varieties along with iris and roses were featured in vibrant hues.  Costumed dancers accompanied this float celebrating the Indonesian culture. 

The profusion of flowers and fruit seen on many of the floats is a clear indication of the abundant majesty of the warmth and sunshine offered by California as the "Mediterranean of the West".

For more information about the Tournament of Roses or to view the 2014 Program online please visit the official website.

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