March along with the 2008 Rose Parade

January 1, 2008, 5:33 PM · Happy New Year from Pasadena, California, home of the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

We missed our wake-up call at the Niles household this morning, as this year's Rose Parade lacked the Stealth Bomber flyover that marked the beginning of the parade for the past several years. There's nothing like having a massive, B2 bomber buzzing your home to get you moving in the morning!

But we hit the road shortly after the parade started four miles west of us on Colordao Boulevard, hiking a mile northeast to our usual spot at the end of the parade route, where we sit with friends and other families from Pasadena's public school district. It seemed like a larger crowd this year, with thousands of University of Illinois fans making their first trip to the Rose Bowl in 24 years. Several friends sported Illini sweatshirts, drawing good-natured jeers from yours truly (a graduate of rival Northwestern University and employee of USC, Illinois' opponent in today's game).

An entry on behalf of the 2008 Beijing Olympics elicited pre-parade criticism from some anti-communist protesters, but warm cheers from the crowd during the parade, despite failing to raise after contracting to pass under the I-210 bridge.

Also drawing cheers, was the Banda de Musica Instituto Nacional from El Salvador, which endured canceled flights, a five-day bus trip and a two-day border detainment to make it to Pasadena. The elicited a standing ovation along the route, and was joined by dozens of cheering Salvadorans, who emerged from the crowd to march along the rest of the route with the band.

Click the float picture below to see our photo gallery of images from this year's Rose Parade and pre-parade float decorating.

Again, best wishes for a happy new year... and for seeing all of you here frequently on!

Replies (2)

January 2, 2008 at 11:28 AM · Thanks for all the pictures. It always ceases to amaze me to see all of the subtleties that go into building those floats.
January 3, 2008 at 2:24 AM · I was at mile 3 and was impressed with the stamina of many of the bands and float walkers. A couple of floats needed some assistance from the towing organizations that attend each event. I was in an enclave of USC supporters that were not impressed with the fighting Illini and went all out for our local boys. The El Savadoran group was well supported and I was really impressed at the precision of the band from Japan. They did some moves that I have only witnessed form college organizations. The Bejing float had quite a security group traveling with them, but the crowd seemed to be very appreciative of their presentation. The Marine band received a standing ovation, the only group to receive the support of the entire crowd. I missed the excellent rope skills of Monty Montana. I would love to hear form others that were at different sections of the parade to see if the reactions were any different.

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