HomeCity NewsFamilies Keep Rose Parade Tradition Alive

Families Keep Rose Parade Tradition Alive

First published in the Jan. 7 print issue of the Burbank Leader.

By Andres de Ocampo
Burbank Leader

Families laughing, taking photos — some even camped out on the sidewalk, wrapped in sleeping bags — filled the streets of Pasadena for the 2023 Tournament of Roses Parade.
The 134th annual parade welcomed swaths of attendees Monday from Burbank, surrounding cities and others from across the nation to turn the corner into the new year.
The Burbank float won the Tournament’s Queen award for “the most outstanding presentation of roses,” parade officials said, among all the other float entries. The theme of the city’s community-built float was “Adventure Awaits.”
According to the city of Pasadena, more than 800,000 people from all over the world converge onto Pasadena in the days leading up to the New Year to witness the Rose Parade, which this year returned without COVID-19 restrictions in place.
Parade watchers flooded into the cross streets of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards to witness the annual New Year’s tradition, with its history spanning back to the 1800s.
Even at 6 a.m., the anticipation for the parade was heightened by the sold-out Rose Bowl football game later in the day between Pennsylvania State and Utah State universities.
Parade attendee Patrice Van Dam just turned 50 and has grown up wanting to go to the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game. This year, she finally made it to her first one because of her son, who is a student at Utah State University.
“The Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade is a bucket list of mine. My son goes to University of Utah and I splurged because it’s a bucket list item,” Van Dam said.
“Growing up in [Northern] California, I’ve always wanted to go … this is the perfect experience. … It’s been super fun, we came down and it’s an amazing vibe,” she said dressed in her Utah gear.
Van Dam was speaking with Kristie Mendoza, a Pomona resident, before the Rose Parade started.
“I helped build the El Salvador float when I was pregnant with my son, who is now 28, so I love coming here every year. This is the thing I do,” Mendoza said.
“A friend of my daughter helped us get tickets and I’ve never been this close to everything. … I love the energy, being down here, we’re so excited. Not wearing any masks, I can meet someone new and not be so concerned. We can see people smile again,” she said.
The theme of the Rose Parade welcoming in 2023 was “Turning the Corner,” in reference to the corner where rose floats, marching bands, equestrian groups and others turn right on Orange Grove onto Colorado, but also a nod to moving beyond the pandemic.
Though many attendees can be found packed into bleachers, walking along the stretch of Orange Boulevard, there are families who have camped out as a longtime tradition or spontaneous outing.
Lake Forest resident Juan Rodriguez sat with his two children in a tent that they camped out on Orange Grove Boulevard to see the Rose Parade lineup pass by on the way to the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado Boulevards.
“This is the second year I’ve been here — it’s the first year with my kids. We camped by tent. … and it’s been a great experience with the kids,” said Rodriguez, noting that he’s trying to make attending the Rose Parade a tradition for his children. “I recommend that people bring their family and enjoy the parade because it’s an amazing experience. Especially when you have little kids, they will never forget this experience.”
His son, 5th-grader Joshua, said he was excited to see the Rose Parade in person after only seeing it on TV. His sister, Yadaira, who is in 3rd grade, said she was also excited to camp out for the event.
“When I was in the car, I was sleeping the whole time. But when I arrived it was hard to sleep for me. … [we asked our Dad to come] to see the Rose Parade in real life,” Yadaira said.
South Pasadena resident Christina Vaughan said her experience camping out for the Rose Parade to be memorable.
Vaughan began camping out almost 24 hours before the start of the Rose Parade and had not left since, sleeping on thin-cushioned mats and insulated blankets with her family. She was joined by her two sisters, her daughter and their children. Though it was colder than she had expected, there were some fun parts to camping out, like meeting their neighbor campers.
Some of Vaughan’s neighbor campers, stationed across the street, were Jim and Dyana Geddie.
Dyana Geddie grew up in Pasadena, very close to the Rose Parade route, and came out to the event every year. For the past 25 years, the Geddies have camped out after they started taking their son.
“It’s a tradition in our family — for the last 50 years, we’ve come as a family and now we bring our kids and hope to bring our grandkids soon,” she said.
Since that time, her family has returned to the same spot for 23 years on Orange Grove Boulevard.
Jim Geddie also noted, “It’s always fun and it’s a tradition. The whole family comes out and we spend time together… You get to know everyone all around you. We’ve known some of these people, even if they’re not family, for years and we take pictures with them. Some of them are here, some of them have passed on but it’s still good to see everybody once a year and spend one day together. It’s a family atmosphere,” he said.
“You just sit around and play games and laugh all night… when the street closes down, it’s touch football in the street,” he said.
“Everyone in their life has to see the Rose Parade in person at least once,” Dyana Geddie said about her lifelong experience attending the New Year’s parade.

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