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.” Fast forward to 2013 - The forecast for New Year’s Day tomorrow for Pasadena is 58 degrees, not exactly a warm weather. There is even a frost advisory from midnight tonight until 9 AM tomorrow morning.
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 Tuesday, January 1, 2013, the 124th Rose Parade with the theme “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” named after the Dr. Seuss book starts at 8:00 a.m. (PT) followed by the 99th Rose Bowl Game at 3:10 pm between the Wisconsin Badgers, champions of the Big Ten Conference, and the Stanford Cardinal, champions of the Pac-12 Conference, a rematch of the same two teams in the 2000 Rose Bowl. From a humble beginning, the Rose Parade is now presented by Honda and expects to be watched by millions on television in more than 100 countries plus a million of spectators along the parade routes. The Rose Bowl Game is presented by VIZIO. The Rose Bowl Game will be televised on ESPN and begins at 1:30 PM PST with kickoff at 2:10 PM PST. The game will be presided over by the 2013 Rose Queen Vanessa Manjarrez, the Royal Court, Tournament of Roses President Sally Bixby and Grand Marshal Jane Goodall. Dr. Jane Goodall is a British anthropologist best known for her work with chimpanzees and also serves as United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Roses are not difficult to grow contrary to popular belief as long as you know what they need. Why do you think Roses have been around for millions of years? All they need are food, water and sunlight. Just like you and me.
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Happy Rose Gardening!
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