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.
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