Notable annual parades in Pasadena, Calif

The granddaddy of all parades anywhere is the Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California.  Millions of people from around the world come each year on New Year’s Day to see the spectacular floats completely decorated in flowers, stunning equestrian units, top marching bands in the country and, of course, the Rose Queen and her Royal Court. There is so much attention to detail and the beauty of the floats almost defy description.

In 1890, the parade started out as a way for the Valley Hunt Club to show their east coast friends the unique California climate. So, right in the middle of winter they held a holiday where they could watch or participate in various games and bask in the warmth of the California sun. They held a parade before the competitions, and since there were so many flowers they decorated their carriages with them. This was the birth of the Tournament of Roses.

People start pouring into Pasadena the day before and one of the most popular things to do is to sleep out on Colorado Boulevard along the parade route the night before. There is the buzz of activity with street venders, music and lots of people. What a great way to spend Ney Year’s Eve.

The Doo Dah Parade was created as a kind of spoof to the very formal, traditional Tournament of Roses Parade. Since the Tournament of Roses will not hold their parade on a Sunday, and that first year January 1 fell on a Sunday, it was decided to go ahead and have the parade. Those first entries were outrageous but there were definitely mixed emotions from Pasadenans.

Today, the Doo Dah Parade is even more obnoxiously funny. Snotty Scotty and the Hankies still lead the parade as its official band. With such entries as the Shopping Cart Drill Team or the Men of Leisure Synchronized Nap Team one can only appreciate the humor of the event.

The date of the parade was moved to May 1 in 2010 and the location changed from Old Town Pasadena to east Pasadena. This parade has birthed several others including Columbus, OH and Ocean City, NJ.

The Latino Heritage Parade is an annual event sponsored by Latino Heritage, an organization celebrating arts, culture and history of the Latinos in the San Gabriel Valley, particularly Pasadena. The parade route starts at Los Robles and Howard and ends at the La Pintoresca Park with a community fair. Entries include equestrian units, school bands, Ballet Folklorico and many others. This event is funded by sponsors and utilizes a strong volunteer support base.