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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Celebrating the New Year!

I'm not one to go out on New Year's Eve and party at a hotel or dine at a fancy restaurant. You'll also never see me with the millions of people out in the cold in Times Square. But that doesn't mean I don't celebrate the start of the new year. I just prefer to do it on New Year's Day in front of the TV with my favorite breakfast. What I am watching is the Rose Parade from Pasadena, California. If you've got a "bucket list" of things you want to do, this should be one of them. No, I am not talking about watching it on TV, I am suggesting that you go and see it in person to get the full effect.

Having lived in California for many years I had the opportunity to see it in person two times. The first time I "camped out" with my husband and my sister and her husband. If you don't have assigned seats, you can spend the night on the curb to get a spot to see the parade the next morning. This is a big event and I believe thousands of people do it every year. Even though Southern California is usually warm during the day in the winter, at night the temperatures can drop into the 40's. Now for you die-hards from the north who think that's a warm spring day, it will seem cold to you after living here for a while with 100 degree temps.

Hanging out on the street with this huge crowd creates a fun camaraderie as people chat about their excitement in gettting to see the parade for the first time while others experience it is a yearly event. There is a constant flow of people going up and down the street as well as a parade of cars "cruising" the street and waving at those alongside the road. This goes on until about 5:00 am when the street is finally closed off to traffic so they can start lining up the floats. If you planned to get a quiet night's sleep it's not going to happen here.

If you can't sleep and want something to do, you can help put on some of the finishing touches on the floats. They will still be working on them up to the start of the parade. Though on TV you can see the beautiful colors of the flowers, seeds and grasses, it has so much more impact when you see it in person. Plus you get the scent of all those flowers which you can't get from a TV screen. After the parade the floats are then lined up in a specific area so you can stop by and look at them one by one.

The other way to experience the parade is by purchasing bleacher seats along the parade route. They will start promoting these seats beginning a month after the parade for the next year and usually sell out a couple of months before the event. Doing the bleacher seat option, to me is much more civilized. You don't have to be on site until 7:00 am so you can sleep in a nice, warm bed instead of the street. Buying tickets is easy, if you buy them in advance through http://www.tournamentofroses.com/. If you wait too late and want an assigned seat it can be had through a ticket broker at an inflated price. So plan early! Put this on your list as a "must do" and then it will be a wonderful memory in years to come that you can relive each time you watch the Rose Parade.