Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Events Generate Magic
by Cynthia Kurtz
January 9, 2014 • 532 views
On January 1, 2014, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses hold its 125th Rose Parade with theme “Dreams Come True” with Grand Marshall Vin Scully. Following will be the 100th Rose Bowl Game. This is the perfect time to thank the Tournament for their contributions to our region’s identity, economy and fun.
In 1890, the members of the Valley Hunt Club voted to hold a parade. They would decorate their horses and buggies with flowers. The parade would be followed with a variety of games – tug of war, jousts, and foot races.
2,000 people came out to enjoy the New Year’s activities. Blooming flowers and being able to hold outdoor games on January 1st – in the middle of winter – was a great reason for the Indiana Colony settlers to celebrate.
The following year music was added to the parade when the Monrovia Town Band performed for the crowd. Then came viewing stands and the crowds grew.
In 1895, the Valley Hunt Club decided the parade had become too big for them to handle and the Tournament of Roses Association was formed to manage the festivities.
In 125 years, it has only rained on the parade 10 times. Some credit divine intervention because of an 1893 decision to never hold the parade on Sunday. Sunday parades would interfere with folks going to church. So, when New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday, the parade would be held on Monday. The “never on Sunday” tradition continues today.
In 1900, the parade was captured on film for the first time. In the following months, audiences across the United States had front row seats for the New Year’s Parade and viewers began to promise themselves to “someday” see it live. Today the Rose Parade is viewed by 84 million people in 220 territories and countries. An estimated 700,000 people line the parade route each year.
We can’t imagine New Year’s Day without football. It all began with a game on January 1, 1902. 8,500 people showed up for the 1,000 available seats in the “town lot” – known today as Tournament Park on the Caltech campus. The University of Michigan beat Stanford University 49 – 0.
Maybe it was the overwhelming large crowd or maybe it was the lopsided score but football was dropped in favor of other sports. A chariot race in 1904. It was exciting but dangerous. An elephant-camel race in 1913. The elephant won.
In 1916, football returned and in 1922 the game was moved to the newly constructed “horse-shoe shaped” stadium in the Arroyo Seco with seating for 57,000 – the Rose Bowl. Today we still celebrate the Grand Daddy of them all in the Rose Bowl on New Years day.
The direct economic impact of the Tournament’s New Year’s events is almost $100 million. Hotels, restaurants, and stores are filled to capacity as visitors and fans stream into Pasadena and the region beyond. It is an exciting time for everyone.
Thank you Tournament President Scott Jenkins and all the Tournament members. You are our dream come true.