Saturday, December 31, 2011

HISTORY OF THE ROSE PARADE


        
Welcome to the World of Rose Gardening or Rose Gardening World.  Here at Rose Gardening World, you’ll find rose articles that will educate you about RosesRose History, Rose Culture, Rose Growing, Rose Profiles, Rose Gardening Tips, Rose Gardens and even Rose Verses all in one place.  So visit Rose Gardening World often. 

Take time and smell the rosesRoses have been around for millions of years which just prove that roses are not difficult to grow. The Rose is also our National Floral Emblem and the state flower of several states.

The annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl football game is an all-American tradition on New Year’s Day.  Long before the radio was invented much less the TV in 1890, members of the Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club wanted to celebrate the mild winter weather in California where roses were still in bloom in January.  They were eager to tell the world about their paradise.  They were from the East and Midwest who moved to California and discovered the nice mild winter weather in Pasadena.  Dr. Charles Frederick Holder declared at a club meeting that “In New York, people are buried in snow.  Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear.  Let’s hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise.”

The first floral festival on New Year’s Day was attended by more than 2000 people and was patterned after the Battle of the Flowers held in Nice, France.  The festival included a modest procession of flower-covered carriages with afternoon games of foot races, tug-of-war contests, bicycle races, ostrich races, polo matches and other contest on the town lot.  There was even a race between a camel and an elephant.  The elephant won.  Eventually, the contest was replaced by the best of college football.  The town lot was then renamed Tournament Park in 1900.  The first football game was played in 1902 between Stanford University and the University of Michigan with Michigan winning 49-0.  Due to such defeat, the Association dropped football in favor of chariot races. 

Then in 1916, football came back to stay.  In 1920, a new stadium was built which the local newspaper called the Rose Bowl.  On January 1, 1923, the Tournament held the first Rose Bowl game.  Today, the festival starts with a parade that includes matching bands, high-stepping equestrian units and spectacular animated floats covered with million flowers from all over the world.  Volunteers called petal pushers work hand in hand with professional designers to make this event a huge success.  This was followed by the Rose Bowl where the championship collegiate football teams of the Pac-12 and the Big Ten conference meet for the showdown of the Granddaddy of them all. 

            In the early years, few teams arrived in flower decorated carriages which gave Dr. Holder the idea to change the name of the festival to “Tournament of Roses”.  By 1895, the festival had gotten so big that it was difficult for the Valley Hunt Club to handle so the Tournament of Roses Association was formed.  Today the Tournament of Roses Association headquarters is housed at an Italian Renaissance-style house, thanks to the generosity of the famous chewing-gum manufacturer, William Wrigley Jr. whose favorite pastime was watching the parade.  The 18,500 square foot mansion designed by architect G. Lawrence Stimson with a 4-1/2 acres rose garden is located two blocks south of the starting point of the parade and was bequeathed to the city of Pasadena upon Mr. Wrigley’s death in 1958 with the stipulation that it be used as the Tournament’s permanent headquarters.    

            On Monday, January 2, 2012, the 123th Rose Parade with the theme “Just Imagine…” starts at 8:00 a.m. (PT) followed by the 98th Rose Bowl Game at 3:10 pm between the No. 10 ranked Wisconsin Badgers, champions of the Big Ten Conference, and the No. 5 ranked Oregon Ducks, Pac-12 Conference champions.  From a humble beginning, the Rose Parade is now presented by Honda and expects to be watched by millions on television in more than 120 countries plus thousands of spectators along the parade routes.  The parade will be broadcast on ABC, Hallmark Channel, HGTV, KTLA, NBC, RFD-TV and Univision.  The Rose Bowl Game is presented by VIZIO and can be watched on ESPN. 

The events take place on Monday, Jan. 2, 2012 to avoid interfering with worship services on Sunday.  J.R. Martinez, a retired soldier, actor and spokesman, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the 2012 Tournament of Roses festivities.  This year, one of the judges is Lois Fowkes, an American Rose Society Judge from New York.  As a New Yorker and a friend, I am very proud of her.

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