None of the local theme parks sponsored a float in this year's parade, but the world's theme park capital was well represented. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation devoted its float in this year's parade to pay tribute to the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando... as well as the Orlando and global communities that embraced the friends and families of the victims in the aftermath.
The float, by Fiesta Parade Floats of Irwindale, won the Lathrop K. Leishman award for "most beautiful non-commercial float." And the tribute elicited the loudest cheers of any float that I heard at the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards this morning, as 49 doves flew into the air in front of the television cameras on the route, symbolizing each of the victims.
Moments earlier, the parade stepped off with a musical celebration...
...followed by the usual eclectic collection of floral delights, including a monkey king,
a tribute to reading,
a roller coaster from the City of Downey that looked not entirely unlike Disney's Big Thunder Mountain,
and even some surfing dogs.
A personal highlight? Getting to see my old high school's marching band in the parade. The Marching Pride of Lawrence Township represents Lawrence Central and Lawrence North high schools in Indianapolis, which I attended (*cough* *cough*) years ago.
Lawrence Central's marching band also appeared in the Rose Parade in 2005.
Happy New Year to everyone in the Theme Park Insider community!Tweet
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