He said it in the lounge of the Valley Hunt Club, a gathering place for wealthy and energetic Pasadenans and eastern socialites wintering there. By New Year's Day 1890 they had a little village frolic under way. Six years later the parade was so long and so famous that the Valley Hunt Club asked to be relieved of the big job of running it. Many of its members were active in forming the new Tournament of Roses Association. Today this nonprofit corporation has a year-round office and 1,500 members with a 40,000-man-hour effort focused on two hours of one day of the year. Out of this office come the ideas.
Somebody thought of having grand marshals. The honor has been handed to people like Vice-President Richard Nixon, former President Herbert Hoover, Chief Justice Earl Warren and Secretary of Defense Charles Wilson.
Somebody thought of having Rose Queens. Though they sit in one of the brightest spotlights in the world, few queens or princesses have tried for movie careers. These Pasadena schoolgirls are picked for poise, tact, brains and wear-well beauty, not glamour.
The fiercest excitement for many comes the night before the parade. In big sheds and Quonset huts around town, some 3,000 all-night workers spend New Year's Eve in a frantic race to get flowers glued or wired into place. They wait until the last desperate moment so their flowers will be fresh at parade time.
Tension tightens after daylight. Huge flowered monsters nuzzle each other in the assembly area, and their attendants run beside them patting final flowers into place. Everything surges and heaves for a while. Far ahead a band stiffens and steps off blaring, pulling the whole area taut. Pandemonium turns into a parade.
The mechanized flower gardens rumble up Orange Grove Avenue, past the reviewing stand, east on Colorado Boulevard, on through town and out to their halting points in Victory Park. Here they will draw another 500,000 visitors and tie up traffic for two days after the parade is over.
And Pasadena will send out a mechanized army of workers to gather the 50,000 pounds of rubbish that the visitors have left on the streets.
Gail Schueltge nervously hikes dress before boarding the city of Burbank's first-prize float, "Page One"
Early-morning crowd gets special treat as Rose princesses board the main float, Shown are Yvonne Flint, Sue Anderson, Lelia McEachern and Arnette Fredrickson
Bunny girls Betty Walker (left), Cathy Reynolds accompany Easter Parade float