Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Rose Parade 2009 Anticipation

Photos and videos of the 120th Rose Parade are appearing on my blog for the first time. Special thanks to my daughter for taking these shots, and experimenting for her first time shooting videos. Later, she taught me skills for adding these features to my blog. I'm pleased with her photography and first video efforts. Unfortunately, I haven't mastered video editing yet, but all in good time.

I learned I probably should carry extra batteries and memory card for such an event. Though we didn't run out of power, we did limit pictures lest we exceed our capability. This resulted in our missing some floats and bands toward the end of the parade. Those of you who have mastered all these skills can empathize with our efforts.

Attending the 120th Rose Parade New Year's Day 2009 in Pasadena, California proved to be a pleasant first time experience for my family, some friends and me. We arose early to board a chartered bus in nearby LaVerne sponsored by their city Recreation Department for the approximately hour freeway drive.

Our bus was only about half occupied. This was surprising to me, especially when I learned some of our passengers were from three other nearby communities who normally chartered buses of their own. Their cities didn't have enough subscribers this year. I speculated as to why the dearth of riders, but I don't really know why for sure. I'm inclined to think the status of our economy contributed to some people having to eliminate this activity from their personal budget.

A couple of younger family groups were on our bus, but the majority of our passengers were elders. The older age group and young families are the ones I think would have filled those other buses and ours. The other possibility for the decrease in chartered bus travelers might have been weather concerns from those caught in a rainy parade day in 2006, the first such disruption in forty years, and their not wanting to risk another such downpour. There was no rain on our parade this year, nor was the temperature unduly warm.

Rose Parade lore is that founders agreed to never have the parade on Sunday, a traditional church day for many, in order to obtain religious city leaders support to allow the parade. The "never on Sunday" agreement has protected the parade from rain reputedly due to Divine Intervention.

When we were finally on the road, snow sprinkled mountains were visible in the distance behind freeway sound walls as our bus drove toward Pasadena.

Traffic slowed as we wound through people massing along the parade route with our bus edging into the parking lot behind our bleacher area. The reserved stands were filling, but with designated numbered seating we did not have to scramble to our place. Our seats were on the north side of the parade route, our backs to the mountains and with the sun facing us for expected clear close views of floats and marchers in front. Large trees offered benefits of shade though preventing our viewing some really tall float extensions like the leading 49 foot tall robot until they passed us to round the street corner heading down Sierra Madre Blvd. toward the parade's end.

Once we were seated in the stands, we began clock-watching for the parade start time at the other end of the route and wondered how long before the parade reached us. Crowd anticipation was high, our senses sharpened for indications the floats and bands would soon be in view. Murmurs grew louder once we saw the sky writing parade welcome message.

Our eyes frequently scanned the sky as we listened also for any sounds indicating the flyover of the Air Force B2 Spirit celebrating 20 years since its first flight. Finally, a wave of "ooh" and "ah" sound waves swept eastward in the parade route stands toward us and we knew instantly to gaze upward. There was that uniquely designed aircraft gliding through the sky so fast the first video effort was a challenge.

I was flooded with the memory of the first time I ever saw a B2 before its existence was publicly known. Our family was driving through the desert toward Los Angeles from a trip to Arizona and Nevada when we were startled to observe what appeared to be a giant boomerang cruising above us to our left through the sky. We had never ever seen any such aircraft before. Excitedly we speculated about space ships, visitors from other planets, but my private pilot husband reasoned that this was likely some sort of experimental aircraft since we weren't too far from a U.S. Air Force base. Months later news photographs announced this plane's existence, confirming his conclusion about this plane we had seen.

Now the 2009 Rose Parade entertainment sky writers and B2 forerunners signaled the marchers were nearby. Contrasting with the modern aircraft we had just seen, next we caught sight of historical bikes once the pride of technology in their time.

Floats, band pictures and videos of our 2009 Rose Parade experience will continue next time.


  1. You are a cool kid now, Mama!

  2. What Pattie said!!! Too cool for words!

  3. Yeah! You go girl! I'm looking forward to the rest of the photos.

  4. What a nice the photos JoAnn.