New Year’s Day in Pasadena


The Annual Tournament of Roses Parade is held each year in Pasadena, California. It’s affectionately known to many as “America’s New Year’s Celebration” because it takes place on New Year’s Day. It’s held in conjunction with the Rose Bowl – the “Granddaddy of Them All” when it comes to inter-collegiate football bowl games. The parade attracts almost a million visitors each year, and that doesn’t include the masses that watch it on TV! It requires approximately 80,000 hours of combined manpower each year, supplied by the over 900 members of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. They are easily picked out of the crowd, as they all wear the distinctive white uniforms. For this reason, they have been dubbed as “White Suiters.”

The Tournament of Roses has a history of humble beginnings. It started in 1890, when some of the members of the Valley Hunt Club wanted to find a way to show off the amazing weather of the place they recently settled into, now known as Pasadena. It was basically a procession of horse-drawn carriages that were adorned with several varieties of flowers, along with games in the town square. Today, however, the parade has grown to immense proportions. It’s a jaw-dropping experience that features gorgeous, florally-decorated floats, award-winning marching bands, equestrian shows and, of course, the Rose Bowl Football game.

You can watch the two-hour parade it as it follows a route along Colorado Boulevard, or if you’d rather, you can purchase tickets to watch it comfortably from the grandstands. It takes place each year on New Year’s Day. That is, unless the holiday falls on a Sunday, then the festivities take place on the following day, January 2nd. You see, there is a “Never on Sunday” tradition that started in 1893. The parade members didn’t want to startle the horses that were hitched up outside the church buildings, for fear that it would disturb the worship ceremonies going on inside. While there are no longer worries of scaring horses, the tradition has remained alive.

One of the best things about attending the parade is that there is a large number of RV parks in the area, so you can take the whole family and join in on the festivities at your convenience. Because of the popularity of the event, it is highly suggested to make your arrangements and reservations in advance.

This is just one of millions of great events that occur every year throughout the U.S. There is no way to get to them all, but it would certainly be a worthy goal … especially in the comfort of your Cruise America rental RV.