Calif. -- Volunteers
are racing against the clock to meet the deadline for the 123rd
Tournament of Roses Parade. The final steps are gluing the stems,
petals and seeds to the sides of the floats. Float decorating
activities took place at the Rosemont Pavilion and at the Rose
Palace in Pasadena, Calif. The parade kicks off at 8 a.m. PT/11
a.m. ET. It will be broadcast live on ABC, NBC, The Hallmark Channel
HGTV and KTLA, among other networks.
Imagine" is this year's official parade theme.
Members of the public had the opportunity to see the floats, marching
bands and equestrian units over the days leading up to the parade.
Float decorating was open for all to see from Dec. 29 through
Jan. 1 while Bandfest took place from Dec. 30 through 31 at the
Pasadena City College. Meanwhile, Equestfest took place on Dec.
30 at the L.A. Equestrian Center in Burbank, Calif.
"This is the Bayer Advanced float, it's called the Garden
of Imagination," said Lance Wilheim, a garden expert at Bayer
Advanced. "It's about two boys who spent their time in the
garden and dreamed up bigger things. He became an astronaut. We
actually introduced the 2012 All-American rose selection, which
is called Sunshine Daydream. Most of the roses on the floats are
grown in greenhouses. If you grow them outside, they probably
wouldn't do too well. This is actually the best new rose for 2012.
There will be 20,000 roses on the float. Rex and I will be right
up here on this big gateway. I rode on a float in 2007. It was
quite an experience to see the masses and the crowds."
His brother, Rex Wilheim, an astronaut, added: "Yeah, we
used to work together over the years in the garden. I kind of
had my heads in the clouds and was watching the airplanes fly
over and became an astronaut. I've been in the NASA space program
for about 16 years now. I've flown three times to space. The first
was about 10 years ago. Most recently, I flew on the final space
mission, STS135 in July of this year. We have astronauts on the
international space station full time in sort of six months tours
of duty up there. Right now, we launched them via Russian rockets.
In the next few years, hopefully we'll have a U.S. vehicle that
can take them up and down. I'm looking forward to it. It's my
first time on the float in the rose parade. Three years ago, I
had the chance to see the Rose Parade and it was amazing."
Float decorators descended on Pasadena from all over America to
work on the beautiful floats. Some spent only one day helping
out while others spent several weeks on the job.
"We've been coming here for two years," said volunteer
Ashley Nola from Fresno, Calif. "We just got here. We left
Fresno at 3:45 in the morning. Today is our first day and we'll
be leaving tonight. It's a one day trip. It took about four and
a half hours to get here. It's really fun to do. You don't know
all of the time and effort it takes. When you see them on TV or
pictures of them, you just think it's pretty. We're putting the
seeds on top where no one can even see. No, we won't actually
be able to see the parade. I have not been to the Rose Parade
as a spectator.
Her friend, Kelly Hobbs is also volunteering. She was seen painting
the side of the gears on one of the floats.
"We got to work on the floats specifically last year and
this year too," Hobbs explained. "The year before that,
I was just doing flowers and stuff like that. This float has the
gear theme, it's got the pipes and you can tell it's some sort
of vehicle that's using steam power, it's using the gears. While
some people do the horse and the buggies, this is more technological.
It's a very long trip. We get up really early, we put in the hours
and we get back really late. It's a long day, but it's really
worth it. It blows my mind how much work goes into this. If I
can, I'll watch the parade on HGTV, where they have no commercials."
Volunteers came in a wide variety of ages. Everyone from young
children to senior citizens were seen working on the floats. Frances
Weishuhn came with a group of senior citizens from Alexandria,
La. to help out on the floats.
"We are gluing on the santa mums on the wheels," she
said. "We were just put on different floats. We're doing
it this year and we did it 10 years ago. It's very interesting.
We came on Thursday and we will be here for five days. We'll be
touring and then we go to the Rose Bowl Parade on Monday. This
float is beautiful and it will be more beautiful when we get through
total of 19 marching bands will perform in the parade. Of those,
the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) All District High
School Honor Band, the Arcadia High School Apache Marching Band,
the Mercer Island High School Marching Band, The Siloam Springs
High School Band and many others. Puerto Rico's Banda Escolar
de Guayanilla will also be entertaining the crowd.
The 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade kicks off at 8 a.m. Pacific/11
a.m. Eastern along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif. Watch
it on ABC, NBC, HGTV or KTLA, among other channels.
more information on the 123rd Rose Parade, visit www.tournamentofroses.com.
Wisconsin to face Oregon in the 2012 Rose Bowl Game
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band performed
at Bandfest on Dec. 30, 2011.