PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Flower-draped floats, marching bands and equestrian units celebrated the New Year during a cold and dry Monday morning, in the 134th Rose Parade that was spared from recent torrential rains in California.
Pasadena’s annual flower show had the upbeat theme “Turning the Corner” for 2023, and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who survived a 2011 shooting, was its grand marshal.
“The New Year is a time of renewal, a chance to make a fresh start,” Tournament of Roses President Amy Wainscott told the television audience.
The parade, which traditionally takes place on January 2 when the New Year falls on a Sunday, kicked off with the Los Angeles band Fitz and the Tantrums! Performing “Let Yourself Free” and a display flight of two B-1B jets from the US Air Force USA.
It has rarely rained during the parade, but this year it was close. There were thunderstorms in Southern California over the weekend and rain was expected again Monday afternoon, which could affect the college football game between Utah and Penn State in the Rose Bowl.
Meanwhile, thousands of spectators and parade participants were saved from a splash.
participants in the parade
Giffords paraded down the 5.5-mile (8-kilometer) route in a vintage convertible, accompanied by her husband, Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona.
Marching bands from different parts of the United States and countries like Mexico, Italy and Japan gathered in the parade.
The Riverside County, California, Mounted Police were led by a riderless horse in honor of Officer Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was killed during a traffic check on December 29.
Multiple floats referred to natural beauty: birds, bears, bees, insects and giraffes were created with flowers and other organic materials. There were also optimistic messages like the one from the California State Polytechnic University car titled “Road to Reclamation” in which animated snails and mushrooms lived on a fallen branch.
The Louisiana Office of Tourism’s “Feed Your Soul” wagon was shaped like a steamboat and was the setting for Lainey Wilson’s mid-parade introduction.
Organ donation organization Donate Life presented a bright orange and red Chinese dragon puffing smoke from its nose and was awarded the Most Beautiful Car trophy by the Tournament of Roses judges.
“American Idol” finalist Grace Kinstler performed a musical number aboard a car to promote tourism in her native Illinois, and country star Tanya Tucker performed her hit single “Ready as I’ll Never Be” at the end of the parade. .