Jan 02 2017

The Pretty Parade

So I’ve been kind of tough on the Big Balloon Parade (Macy’s Thanksgiving). First of all, it’s not that damn big compared to the one us Nutmeggers throw each year in Stamford- we rival or exceed it in number of Big Balloons and Bands which brings me to point 2. The Floats are insipid rolling stage sets for C List singers and Broadway Shows. Little attention is paid to the Parade itself, coverage consists of not so witty banter from your usual Network Morning Show crew, grumpy and resentful about being stuck outside instead of in a nice, warm studio, and another bunch of singers too lowly to even rate their own float, lip syncing during the interminable wait for something even vaugely interesting to happen.

It’s a huge waste of time and I’ve stopped bothering. If I wanted to watch Network Morning Shows, I would. It doesn’t even have the local weather.

The Rose Parade is different. There are 3 parts. The first is those gorgeous and elaborate Floats, always covered (in all the visible parts anyway) in flowers or plant products and many extensively animated.

The other unique part is the Equestrian Units. I can tell you from personal experience they’re not so much fun to march behind, but if you like Horsies this is the Parade for you.

Finally the are the Bands (of course I marched in some, and we were damn good too though Parades are kind of stupid and boring compared to Field Shows), the nice thing about Rose Parade coverage is that they let you hear more than 15 seconds of them (especially since some of them have been fundraising for years to affort what, for the kids, is a once in a lifetime trip. That’s how my Mom got to go.).

Now the Floats are something, and really, really expensive which is why most of them have Corporate sponsorship (don’t let the Charities and Communities fool you). They can take a year to design and assemble (each one) and that’s before you start sticking the flowers on. Currently most of them are the product of a few professional companies that specialize in producing them. This year (in decending order) they are-

  • 16 Phoenix
  • 11 Fiesta
  • 4 Paradiso
  • 3 AES

Along with 6 that are Self-Built. The Award categories mean nothing, they’re like participation awards, everybody gets one and if they don’t have a category they’ll make one up. Hopefully you’ll get a chance to see all 40 along with the 20 Equestrian Units and 18 Bands.


Sponsor Constructor
4 Hour Fitness AES
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Fiesta
American Armenian Rose Float Association Phoenix
American Honda Motor Co. Phoenix
BDK, a Singpoli Affiliate Paradiso
Burbank Tournament of Roses Association Self-Built
Cal Poly Universities Self-Built
California Milk Advisory Board Fiesta
China Airlines AES
City of Alhambra, CA Phoenix
City of Hope Phoenix
City of Los Angeles Fiesta
Dole Packaged Foods Fiesta
Donate Life Paradiso
Downey Rose Float Association Self-Built
Farmers Insurance Phoenix
Kaiser Permanente Fiesta
Kiwanis International Phoenix
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association Self-Built
Lions Clubs International Phoenix
Lucy Pet Fiesta
Lutheran Laymen’s League Phoenix
Miracle-Gro Fiesta
National Hockey League (NHL) Phoenix
Netflix AES
Northwestern Mutual Fiesta
Occupational Therapy Association of California Fiesta/td>
Odd Fellows Rebekahs Rose Float Phoenix
RAGÚ Paradiso
Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee, Inc. Phoenix
Shriners Hospitals for Children Phoenix
Sierra Madre Float Association Self-Built
South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association Self-Built
The Bachelor Fiesta
The UPS Store, Inc. Paradiso
Torrance Rose Float Association Fiesta
Trader Joe’s Phoenix
Union Bank and the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Phoenix
United Sikh Mission Phoenix
Western Asset Management Company Phoenix

And 1 from each of the 2 Rose Bowl Teams.

Equestrian Units

1st Cavalry Division Horse Cavalry Detachment (Fort Hood, Texas)
Backcountry Horsemen of California – Mid-Valley Unit (Sonora, California)
Budweiser Clydesdales (St. Louis, Missouri)
California Highway Patrol Mounted Patrol Unit (Sacramento, California)
Kern County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse (Bakersfield, California)
Los Hermanos Bañuelos Charro Team (Altadena, California)
Mane Attraction Equestrian Drill Team (Riverside, California)
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament (Buena Park, California)
The New Buffalo Soldiers (Shadow Hills, California)
The Norco Cowgirls & The Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team (Norco, California)
Philippine Scouts Heritage Society – U.S. Army’s 26th Cavalry Regiment (Los Angeles, California)
Santa Barbara County Sheriff Mounted Enforcement Unit (Santa Barbara, California)
Scripps Miramar Saddlebreds (San Diego, California)
Seven Oaks Farm Miniature Therapy Horses (Hamilton, Ohio)
Spirit of the West Riders (Leona Valley, California)
Union Rescue Mission – Los Angeles (Los Angeles, California)
United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard (Barstow, California)
Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena, California)
Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society (San Diego, California)
Wells Fargo Stagecoaches (Los Angeles, California)


Arcadia High School – Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band and Color Guard, Arcadia, CA
Bands of America Honor Band (Representing all 50 States) – Indianapolis, IN
Broken Arrow High School – The Pride of Broken Arrow, Broken Arrow, OK
Escuela Secundaria Tecnica Industrial No. 3 – Buhos Marching Band, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico
Foothill High School – Falcon Marching Band, Henderson, NV
Gifusho Green Band – Gifu, Japan
Grove City High School – The Grove City High School Marching Band, Grove City, OH
Lawrence Township – Marching Pride of Lawrence Township, Indianapolis, IN
Los Angeles Unified School District – All District High School Honor Band, Los Angeles, CA
Martin Luther King, Jr. High School – MLK “Kings of Halftime,” Lithonia, GA
Niceville High School – Eagle Pride, Niceville, FL
Ooltewah High School – Ooltewah High School Marching Band, Ooltewah, TN
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band & Herald Trumpets – Pasadena, CA
Pulaski High School – Red Raider Marching Band, Pulaski, WI
The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band – Los Angeles, CA
Santa Clara Vanguard – Santa Clara, CA
United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band – MCAS Miramar, MCRD San Diego and Camp Pendleton, CA
United States Air Force Total Force Band – Travis Air Force Base, CA
Westlake High School – Chaparral Band, Austin, TX

And 1 from each of the 2 Rose Bowl Teams.

I particularly draw your attention to the Santa Clara Vanguard, which is a Drum Corps, not a band, and has been consistently nationally ranked for years.