If Tournament of Roses events attract 700,000 people (and another 80 million viewers) on Jan. 1, the time between Christmas and New Year’s has been known to be called “Avoid Pasadena Week.” Sure, thousands line up to view the floats in the final stages of decorating, but the barns are on the outskirts. The central city is—well—avoided, at least by locals. On the other hand, readers of this column say that the promise of consuming a Dole Whip without paying the admission price to Disneyland could be a big attraction.
Enter Live on Green, a three-day event on the campus of the Pasadena Convention Center (on Green Street between Euclid and Marengo) that ushers in the New Year from Tuesday, Dec. 29 to Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015 with patios and ballrooms and stages filled with entertainment, activities for kids and adults, food and drink, adventure and discovery, and opportunities to support local charities. The event is the brainchild of the folks at Huerta Quorum, who have worked with Rose Parade float sponsors for years and have planned and marketed huge events, such as the ESPN FanFest.
“For a very long time, we wanted to do something tied to the parade,” Barbara Cocks, President of Huerta Quorum told Examiner. “The tipping point for this year was the National Parks.” She said the firm was aiming for 2017, but “this was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.” The National Parks Service is collaborating with the Tournament of Roses this year to present the 127th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2016, hence the parade theme “Find Your Adventure.”
Best of all for folks on a budget, this jam-packed-with-fun event is free to the public, and even the food, created by the Convention Center staff and Dole Packaged Foods, will be reasonable. The highest-priced item on the menu will be $7, Cocks assured. In addition to food booths, there will be food demonstrations throughout the day by celebrity chef Ben Ford and Dole chef Ally Phillips.
Two events of the past year have inspired special tributes to people who contributed greatly to the cachet of the Rose Parade. Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards, who announced their retirements after decades of broadcasting the parade for media sponsor KTLA-5, will host the opening ceremony for Live on Green and KTLA-5 will have a mock-up of the anchor booth for photo opps.
Last February, float designer Raul R. Rodriguez, whose creations won more awards than any other designer, passed away. Dole is honoring Rodriguez on their 2016 float, “Soaring Over Paradise,” with a flock of macaws and Rodriguez’ faithful feathered friend Sebastian perched on the shoulder of his partner Robert Cash. At Live on Green, his studio will be recreated using the actual furnishings of the room where he created hundreds of float designs.
Speaking of floats, Fiesta Parade Floats, builder of the Dole floats for six years and winner of the Sweepstakes trophy for 22 consecutive years, will have a mini-float at the Green Street entry to demonstrate the float-building process. Also at that location, a $1 donation to Union Station Homeless Services will give visitors the opportunity to virtually ride the Queen and Court float. Donors fill out a label that will be attached to one of the roses that covers the float.
Keep an eye out for…
- Pasadena Humane Society Mobile Outreach Unit, with petable pooches up for adoption. The dogs will be out a few hours each day, and the rest of the time PHS volunteers and staff will be on hand to talk about pet care and adoptions.
- Spirit Theater screenings of Grand Marshal Ken Burns’The National Parks: America’s Best Idea and films, speakers, and a wrap-up of JPL’s Cassini project with Dave Doody.
- Jam in the Van, a fully-contained solar-powered recording studio that offers an opportunity for music groups to make a live recording.
- Performances by the USAF rock band Galaxy, Felice LaZae, and Help the Doctor.
- Family Fun Area with kid-friendly food (including the famous Dole Whip) and activities.
- Exhibits by the National Parks Service and various Pasadena-area charities, including Five Acres children’s home and California Mental Health Awareness.
- Walls of super graphics in the Conference Center featuring Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game royalty, fun facts, and replays of half-a-dozen Rose Bowl Games, including the 1991 game in which two of the 2015 Rose Bowl Hall of Famers played on opposite teams: Mark Brunell for the University of Washington Huskies and Tyrone Wheatley for the University of Michigan Wolverines.
- Book signings, notably author Kristen Kittscher, former 7th-grade teacher at a Pasadena school, with The Tiara on the Terrace, a middle-grade mystery inspired by the Tournament of Roses Royal Court.
Each day starts at 9 a.m. with the presentation of colors by the US Air Force and the USAF Honor Guard drill team and giveaways of swag. Every day of Live on Green will offer new experiences, including an hourly ring-in of the New Year on Dec. 31, beginning with Bangkok time at 9 a.m. and ending with Milan AT 3 p.m. Check the online schedule to see what’s up.
According to the folks at Huerta Quorum, this is just the beginning. Cocks said that the plan is to ultimately expand from three days to five, and to have a giant New Year’s celebration and, if it lasts long enough, brunch on the parade route. Schulman said the event taps into the excitement leading up to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game that visitors and locals alike feel and gives them a way to express it.
The theme of the 127th Rose Parade and 102nd Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2016 is “Find Your Adventure.” If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook at All Things Rose Parade or email firstname.lastname@example.org.