The year's parade theme was "Inspiring Stories"...
And the Grand Marshal was to be Louis Zamperini, the former Olympian and World War II prisoner of war whose very inspiring life story was told in the bestselling-book and new movie Unbroken. Unfortunately, Zamperini passed away, at age 97, after being named Grand Marshal last summer. He was honored during the parade with the traditional military honor of a riderless horse, with empty boots reversed in the stirrups.
Many of his life accomplishments were noted in a float that followed his family on the parade route.
The annual Rose Parade celebrates Southern California, so it should be no surprise that there would be several floats celebrating the entertainment industry in addition to the indirect promotion for Unbroken. So say hello to the cast of the 1970s-80s TV hit, "The Love Boat," riding on a float sponsored by Princess Cruises.
Looking for more current TV celebrities? Just wait for the float from the reality TV game show "The Bachelor."
Say hello to movie star Jack Black, riding on the Farmers Insurance Salute to Teachers float.
And to the slightly more hirsute Smokey Bear.
Of course, the real stars of the Rose Parade are the floats, including this spectacular salute to "The Rhythm of Hawaii."
I love the detail on the many creatures depicted in flowers, fruits and other organic material on the various floats.
The Rose Parade leads to the afternoon's Rose Bowl college football game, which this year features a semifinal matchup in the inaugural College Football Playoff in lieu of the traditional matchup between the champions of the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences. For our many Florida readers, here are the cheerleaders and marching band from Florida State:
And the same from FSU's opponent in the Rose Bowl today, the University of Oregon:
Happy New Year, wherever you are, and thank you for spending part of it with us here at Theme Park Insider!Tweet
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