TodayApril 15, 2022

2019 Tournament of Rosebowl Parade – The Melody of Life

2019 Tournament of Rosebowl Parade PASADENA, California (January 1, 2019) – The big news of the Rose Parade was the Chinese American (CAHFUSA’s) 95-Foot Float that caught Fire During the 130th Annual Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. People at the event were upset that TV crews left before the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses float appeared. If that is all you heard about the iconic New Year’s Day Parade you missed a great Parade!

Since 1890, the Tournament of Roses has produced America’s New Year Celebration, bringing the traditions of the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game together in a 24-hour festival. The 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade, commonly known as the Rose Parade, is an annual parade before the Ohio State and Washington Rosebowl football game. It is like the biggest tailgate party you have ever seen. You had people celebrating for 5 1/2 miles for New Year’s Eve, and people attending the Parade just to see the floats, horses, and bands.

We walked the 5 1/2 miles from the corner of Green St and Orange Grove Boulevard turning onto Colorado St. We started at the back-end, around Sierra Madre St. and Colorado where the fire pits and cots were set up and the bands were playing. The entire 5 1/2 miles was lined with people, chairs, music, and festivities. As we walked Orange Grove the Christmas decorations were still up in many homes and the cots changed to air mattresses. Each year we have enjoyed the Tournament of the Roses, especially with Nellie back in 2016.

This year’s theme, “The Melody of Life,” celebrates music, the universal language. Music has the power to bring us together and create the soundtracks that define our lives. It was only fitting that “Good Vibrations – A Melody of Life Celebration” with Chaka Khan, 2019 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal, and ten-time GRAMMY Award winner. Khan started the Parade and was joined by her nephew Tyler McCrary and grandsons, Jett and Josh Khan-Corley – adorable! but my favorite was the U. S. Air Force B-2 Spirit Flyover.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses hosted 40 float entries. Each float is listed by the organization it represents and the group that built the float. I always like to see the self-built versus the corporate-built floats. The floats, listed with the builder, are alphabetical by participating company or organization:

Organization/float builder
24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc. AES
AIDS Healthcare Foundation Fiesta
American Armenian Rose Float Association Phoenix
Big Bear Rose Parade Association Fiesta
Blue Diamond Almonds AES
Burbank Tournament of Roses Association Self-Built
Cal Poly Universities Self-Built
Carnival Cruise Line Fiesta
China Airlines AES
Chinese American Heritage Foundation (CAHF) Fiesta

“Harmony Through Union”

Fiesta Parade Floats

The Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s float, entitled “Harmony Through Union,” brings to life the iconic photograph taken at Promontory Point, Utah, which heralded the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad on May 10, 1869. The 85 percent scaled trains are intricately reproduced as the 8-foot tall famed “Golden Spike,” is about to be ceremonially driven into the last rail. This is the Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s first appearance in the Rose Parade and their float kicks off a year-long initiative entitled, “We Built America”, which will celebrate the important contributions made by immigrants in our communities. The Transcontinental Railroad galvanized the country with prosperity, startup towns, and the promise of healing a divided nation. It also shortened passenger travel from six months or more, down to just one week. Live day-time fireworks and music complete the excitement of this great American moment, marking the 150th anniversary of the Transcontinental Railroad. Over 12,000 roses create the floral deck gardens and 3,500 orchid florets create the yucca blossoms.

This is the video before we realized the Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s float was having problems:

This is the video of the Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s float being towed away:

Chipotle Mexican Grill AES
City of Alhambra Phoenix
City of Hope Phoenix
Dole Packaged Foods Fiesta
Donate Life Fiesta
Downey Rose Float Association Self-Built
Easterseals Fiesta

“Celebrating Easterseals – 100 Years of Disability Services”

Fiesta Parade Floats

For 100 years Easterseals has been the indispensable resource for individuals with developmental disabilities and individuals with special needs, along with their families. Easterseals works to change the way the world defines and views disabilities by making positive, profound differences in people’s lives every day. They kick off their 100th-anniversary celebration with a trip down the Rose Parade route. For their float, Easterseals presents a 20-foot-tall cake adorned with human figures, showing an integrated community working together and celebrating diversity. Colorfully wrapped packages surround the cake featuring the words, “live,” “work,” “learn,” and “play.” A total of 12,000 orange-toned roses, carnations, and gerbera create the deck garden, with more than 3,000 hot pink Princess roses decorating the cake. Easterseals provides exceptional services, education, outreach, and advocacy so that individuals with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in our communities. A kaleidoscope of brilliant colors and patterns radiate from spinning pinwheels as the float makes its way down Colorado Boulevard.

Farmers Insurance Phoenix
Kaiser Permanente Fiesta
Kiwanis International Phoenix
La Canada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association Self-Built

“Tree Frog Night”


For their 41st self-built parade entry, the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association presents “Tree Frog Night”, a celebration of Cajun and Zydeco jazz and blues melodies echoing “The Melody of Life” in the southern United States. Perched on a moss-covered tree limb just above the water, a jazz and blues trio of frogs belts out toe-tapping Cajun and Zydeco jazz and blues melodies. They sing and play joyously as two brightly-colored fish dance in the water below, and a pair of dragonflies are perched nearby. Standing over 23-feet tall and nearly 50-feet long, the float is adorned with lily pads and sculpted lotus flowers, while floral waterfalls of iris and orchids highlight the base, along with beds of roses. The La Cañada Flintridge Float is one of six self-built entries this year, and the only float in the 2019 Rose Parade built and decorated entirely outdoors.

Lions Clubs International Phoenix

“Rockin’ The Vest”

Phoenix Decorating Company

Founded in 1918 in Chicago, Lions Clubs International has grown to be the world’s largest volunteer service organization, with over 1.4 million members worldwide serving in over 46,000 clubs in 214 countries and geographic areas. This year, Lions Clubs International ventures down Colorado Boulevard with their float, “Rockin’ The Vest,” based on a Lions Clubs promotional video that was launched in 2012. The video demonstrated what the Lions Clubs vest means to the community, much like the float does in today’s Rose Parade. Leo the Lion rides in a baby blue classic Cadillac replica with all his Lions Clubs friends, ready to serve the community. The group represents the millions of volunteers who help communities worldwide through their work with Lions Clubs International. Around 31,000 flowers bring this scene to life with an array of orange, dark lavender, peach, bright yellow and pink roses, yellow fine cut strawflower, and sunflowers, among others.

Lutheran Laymen’s League Phoenix
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Phoenix
Northwestern Mutual Fiesta

Artistic Entertainment Services

Proudly depicting the school name and team colors of one of the outstanding football teams that will compete in the 105th Rose Bowl Game, this float jump-starts the excitement and support among football fans for today’s big game.

Odd Fellows Rebekahs Rose Float Phoenix
Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee, Inc. Phoenix
Shriners Hospitals for Children Phoenix
Sierra Madre Rose Float Association Self-Built
South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association Self-Built

“Three Little Birds”


The South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association has been a part of the Rose Parade since 1893, holding the distinction of being the oldest, self-built float in the parade. This year, they celebrate the universal message of optimism with their float entitled “Three Little Birds.” The float is inspired by the Bob Marley song and serves as a reminder to be thankful for what you have, and for those around you. Three little birds are sitting on the neck of a guitar singing away. A drum, tambourine, and trumpet accompany the birds on their musical journey down Colorado Boulevard. In addition to roses, orchids, and gladiolas, the float utilizes eucalyptus bark that was gathered from the South Pasadena community.

Stella Rosa Wines Fiesta
The American Legion Phoenix

“Still Serving America”

Phoenix Decorating Company

Chartered by Congress in 1919, The American Legion is the nation’s largest wartime veterans service organization. The American Legion’s float, “Still Serving America,” celebrates their 100th anniversary as they venture down the parade route for the first time. Riders on the float include Medal of Honor recipients from multiple wars, service members from each branch of service, representatives from The American Legion Youth Programs and leadership from The American Legion, The American Legion Auxiliary, and Sons of The American Legion. On the float, the words youth, Americanism, security, and veterans highlight the four pillars of service that are the foundation of the organization, and its ongoing mission to support veterans, service members, and their families in local communities across the country. The American Legion has formed the Department of Veterans Affairs, created the U.S. Flag Code and drafted the original GI Bill.

The UPS Store, Inc. Fiesta
Torrance Rose Float Association Fiesta
Trader Joe’s Company Phoenix
Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DigAlert) Fiesta
United Sikh Mission Phoenix
Universal Pictures and Dreamworks Animation AES
Western Asset Management Company Phoenix


The Tournament of Roses had 18 outstanding equestrian groups ride in the 130th Rose Parade, themed “The Melody of Life.”

The equestrian groups selected are (listed alphabetically):

1st Cavalry Division, Horse Cavalry Detachment (Fort Hood, Texas)
Blue Shadows Mounted Drill Team (Castaic, California)
Budweiser Clydesdales (St. Louis, Missouri)

St. Louis, Missouri

Marshal: Doug Bousselot

The Budweiser Clydesdales have been the symbol of Anheuser-Busch for more than 75 years. They were formally introduced on April 7, 1933, to celebrate the repeal of Prohibition. Only the finest horses make the Budweiser Clydesdale hitch after meeting strict requirements in appearance and temperament. All Budweiser Clydesdales must be a gelding at least four years of age, stand 72 inches at the shoulder when fully mature, weigh between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, have a bay coat, four white legs, a white blaze, and a black mane and tail. In the early days of brewing, Dalmatians were bred and trained to protect the horses and guard the wagon when the driver went inside to make deliveries. Today, Dalmatians serves as the mascot to every Clydesdale hitch. This year marks Budweiser Clydesdales’ 62nd year in the Rose Parade.

Calgary Stampede Showriders (Strathmore, Alberta, Canada)
California Highway Patrol (Sacramento, California)
Gold Rush Fire Brigade (Pilot Hill, California)
Hawaii Pa’u Riders (Waimanalo, Hawaii)
Los Hermanos Banuelos Charro Team (Altadena, California)
Mini Therapy Horses (Calabasas, California)
Parsons Mounted Cavalry (College Station, Texas)
Scripps Miramar Ranch (San Diego, California)
Spirit of the West Riders (Leona Valley, California)
The New Buffalo Soldiers (Shadow Hills, California)
The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo Drill Team & Little Miss Norco Cowgirls Jr. Drill Team (Norco, California)
The Valley Hunt Club (Pasadena, California)
United States Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard (Barstow, California)
US Forest Service Pack Mules Celebrate Smokey Bear’s 75th (Vallejo, California)
Wells Fargo Stagecoaches (San Francisco, California)

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses selected 20 marching bands to participate in the 130th Rose Parade “The Melody of Life.” The bands traveled to Pasadena from across the United States and around the world, including Canada, Costa Rica, Japan, Puerto Rico, and Sweden. There are two bands that will be added to the line-up when the universities participating in the 105th Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual are determined.

2019 Marching Bands
Alabama State University Mighty Marching Hornets (Montgomery, AL)
All-Izumo Honor Green Band (Izumo, Japan)
Banda Escolar de Guayanilla Puerto Rico (Guayanilla, Puerto Rico)
Banda Municipal de Acosta (Acosta, San José, Costa Rica)

San José, Costa Rica

Directors: Jose Manuel Mora Corrales and Julio Cesar Lopez Zeledon

The Banda Municipal de Acosta travels to the Rose Parade from San Jose, Costa Rica. The band was founded in 2008 and is comprised of over 240 members, ranging in age from 10 to 35 years. The members are from various cities throughout Costa Rica, with some traveling half a day just to rehearse. Throughout their performance, the band incorporates dances typical of the region with handkerchiefs. Their uniforms include the colors yellow and black—yellow symbolizes hope and black symbolizes fertile soil. In addition to their appearance in the 2019 Rose Parade, the Banda Municipal de Acosta has performed in La Luz Festival in Costa Rica and various festivals in Panama and Guatemala.

Calgary Stampede Showband (Calgary, Alberta, Canada)
Cavalcade of Bands Honor Band (Mid-Atlantic Region)
Florida A&M University, The Incomparable Marching “100” (Tallahassee, FL)
Flower Mound High School Band (Flower Mound, TX)

Director: Brent Biskup

Comprised of 375 students, the Flower Mound High School Marching Band is the largest student organization at Flower Mound High School and in the Lewisville Independent School District. The Flower Mound Band has become one of the top band programs in the state of Texas as well as throughout the United States. The band is a consistent Bands of America (BOA) regional and super-regional finalist. They were named grand champions of the BOA San Antonio Super-Regional in 2015 and 2016, sweeping all captions in 2016. Most recently, the Flower Mound High School Marching Band attended the BOA Grand National Championships in Indianapolis, where they were named a finalist and captured 5th place with the highest score posted in school history. The Flower Mound High School Marching Band is also the reigning State 6A Marching Band Champion.

Lincoln-Way Marching Band (Frankfort, IL)
Mercer Island High School Marching Band (Mercer Island, WA)
Munford High School Band (Munford, TN)
Na Koa Ali`I – Hawai`i All-State Marching Band (Kaneohe, HI)
Pacific Crest Drum & Bugle Corps (Diamond Bar, CA)
Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band & Herald Trumpets (Pasadena, CA)
Director: Kyle Luck
The Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band has marched in the Rose Parade since 1930, marking the 2019 Rose Parade as their 90th consecutive appearance in America’s New Year Celebration. The band is comprised of current Pasadena City College Lancer Marching Band members and select high school students from throughout Southern California. Over 500 high school music students auditioned for the 235 spots in the band. This year’s lineup includes the band’s theme song, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” along with “The Stars and Stripes Forever,” “Defying Gravity,” and a special arrangement of Duke Ellington’s “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It ain’t Got That Swing.)” Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band marches down the familiar route in their traditional uniform with the Tournament of Roses logo on the chest.

Pickerington Marching Band (Pickerington, OH)
Royal Swedish Cadet Band (Karlskrona, Sweden)
The Lassiter High School Marching Trojan Band (Marietta, GA)
The Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band (Long Beach, CA)
United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band (San Diego, CA)

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.

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