2010 Rose Parade Recap.

It all started sometime in November, when Big Brothers of Orange County contacted Tony and asked if he and his Little, Michael, wanted to ride on a float in the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.

They attended a publicity photo shoot at the Rose Parade Mansion in November, which is also when they first met representatives from Honda America, as well as the other float riders, and saw the float model. Then they were given t-shirts with the Big Brothers’ logo, then the realization that it would be cold the morning of the 1st, so they were also given logo jackets. Then, a couple days before the parade, they were informed that the fire marshall was requiring all the riders to wear hats, because there were fireworks and other pyrotechnics on the float. So they were given hats with logos, too. Almost a full wardrobe of things with the Big Brothers’ logo!

Michael & Tony & the Honda float model.

On 12/27, we attended the “VIP float decorating event,” where we viewed the Honda float from a catwalk, and then decorated pieces of the float that were laid out on tables. We noted on judging day (12/31) that, in actuality, the only pieces we decorated that showed up on the float were the Honda side pieces, and they were re-covered with flower petals.

My mom putting seeds on the Honda logo

The Honda float, sails down and being decorated. Visible is the rear of the float and the “fireworks boat”

On the 31st, they required the riders be present for the float judging ceremony, so we headed up to Pasadena bright and early (around noon). Seeing the float fully decorated and fully functional was an awesome sight indeed. To see my husband on the float made it spectacular!

In front of the Honda float

One thing I’ve learned in life is, if you walk or drive like you know where you’re going and act like you’re supposed to be there, more often than not you’ll get to go there whether you’re “supposed” to be there or not. That served me well several times through this event. Particularly since I have a case of laryngitis, thanks to this nasty cold I’m battling.

I’ve also learned that laryngitis sucks.

New Year’s Eve … blue moon

New Year’s eve found us staying in a 4 star hotel, courtesy of the Big Brothers organization. Unfortunately, all four of us were in various stages of battling colds… imagine, if you will, trying to cough, snort, hawuck, sniffle, etc., all quietly because you don’t want to wake the others in the room who are trying to sleep, while worrying about the 3 AM wake-up time looming over your head. I ask you to imagine that because that’s what everyone was doing in our hotel room on New Year’s eve.

At midnight a text message on Tony’s phone blared. Michael sat straight up in bed and exclaimed, “What?? It can’t be 3 AM yet, I haven’t gotten to sleep yet!!” It was the ice breaker that allowed us to give up the pretense of sleep. We opened the drapes just in time to see the last bit of fireworks off in the distance… well, I did. We laughed, chatted (some chatting was more annoying than others) and rearranged ourselves. When it all sorted out, we all ended up getting about 2 hours of sleep and mine happened on the floor of the closet in a 4 star hotel. That’s right. I stayed in a 4 star hotel and slept in the closet!

My closet bed

Beyond seeing my husband on a float in the Rose Parade, a couple highlights for me included meeting Captain Sully on the 31st. Yep, the Hudson River flight navigator himself! He said to me, “Hello! How are you doing?” I gave my standard answer that I give to all strangers who put me on the spot, a quiet “Hi!” and a big grin. This particular “hi” had the bonus of being a bit froggish, given the status of my laryngitis. I did manage to take his picture, though.

Grand Marshall for the 2010 Rose Parade, Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger

Another highlight involved coffee and donuts! The morning of the 1st, I desperately needed something hot to drink. One of the white suited fellows directing people said he had visited the VIP/media area for his coffee. He said I could probably get in there if I smiled at them like I was smiling at him, and that worked great the first time. On my way down for a refill, I offered to get him a refill, too. He was so surprised that someone had thought of his needs! Sadly, the pretty smile didn’t work, so I explained my intentions (getting the white suited guy a refill) and as it turned out, my good intentions were my VIP pass the second time.

Me and my “boyfriend”, the Farmer Insurance Group’s “Salute to the Bands” float. We stared at each other for a good 2 hours the morning of the 1st. I was glad he left me when the parade started.

And my final highlight was that I somehow managed to avoid all vehicular traffic. I kept thinking I was lost or on the wrong road, because I made it to all my destinations with zero traffic. I think my drive to Pasadena was just early enough (I got there before my parking lot was even open) and when leaving the parade, I took lightly traveled streets which paralleled the main thoroughfare, which was terribly congested. Whatever the trick, I was glad for it, because I hate driving in traffic at events. Everyone drives like they forgot their brains at home, and that annoys the crap out of me.

The Rose Parade was spectacular. When I was a teenager, I went up 2 or 3 times with family friends and watched the parade toward the end of the parade route. This year, Honda gave the families of the float riders complimentary grandstand seating just before the media/VIP area. Our grandstand got extra time with each float and band because they paused for several seconds in front of us to wait for their turn in front of the media. Being at the start vs. the end of the parade makes a difference — the floats are up, and everyone is fresh and perky, including the flowers. At the end of the parade route, everyone is tired, hardly anyone is waving or smiling and the floats are down (from having gone under the bridge) and many of the floats are being towed. Also, being there in person is a far better experience than watching it on TV. This year was really a special experience.

Honda’s “Ship of Dreams,” with Michael and Tony on the rear balcony

Michael and Tony

When we finally got home the afternoon of the 1st, I took a shower and crashed. I slept from 3:30 PM through to 9:30 AM on the 2nd. I think it’s safe to say we were all exhausted.

I’ll let pictures and video tell the rest of the story. Happy New Year, everyone!

Float Decorating VIP party pictures: Link to pictures

Photo album of the 2010 Rose Parade: Link to pictures

2010 Float Judging Ceremony, the Honda float was awarded the “Tournament Special Trophy”: Link to video

ABC’s coverage of the Honda float (about 2 minutes): Link to video

Welcome to 2010!



Filed under Best Husband, Entertainment can be Cheap, I did something Special, I Left Home for Awhile

30 responses to “2010 Rose Parade Recap.

  1. Cat

    So very, very cool!! I was wondering why he was on the Honda float and now I know. What a great moment to remember! Way to kick off 2010 with an awesome memory!

  2. What a fun post! I’m so glad you had a great time and how amazing to meet Mr. Sullenberger. (Wow!) I only saw a couple minutes of the parade so I’m thankful for your bird’s eye view and descriptions. Thanks and I do hope you are feeling better! Hugs, Debra

    • Wasn’t that so cool? Meeting him? He’s one of those people who just gives off wonderful vibes… you feel like you’ve had an entire conversation in just a couple words. πŸ™‚

      I’m working on the feeling better part of it. heh


  3. grrrace

    i *knew* i could count on you to do a great recap of the whole thing!

    okay, now off to see video and pics… πŸ™‚

  4. tony

    Happy New Year sweetie pie!!! We will wait on the kiss after your done being sick, nanananana

  5. grrrace

    In-n-Out truck and cupcakes! LUCKY! ;P

    Seriously, though, what a fantastic experience! That kid has the best big bro EVER. Was his mom able to make it, also? I am sure he knows it, but I hope he is appreciative of Tony. It would be awesome if Michael became a Big Bro to someone else and paid it forward… πŸ™‚

    That float is even prettier up close.

    I love how Tony is TOTALLY unfazed by the fireworks going off in the rear. He is just waving like a prom queen. hehe. Also, I never thought about how they’d have to be waving the ENTIRE time! Holy crap! How exhausting!

    Captain Sully just seems like a nice guy. Awesome that you got to meet him, even if it was just for a short second.

    LOVE this post. I wish you were healthy for it, but I’m glad that it all worked out anyway. πŸ™‚ xox

    • Mmmm, In-N-Out…. hehe

      I think he knows it, man, he is really a funny guy. Michael had us cracking up with his one liners and perspective on things. Great things are in store for that kid. πŸ™‚

      The float was seriously like a 75 foot bouquet of flowers. The scent was amazing… all those lilies and roses and carnations. My absolute favorite flowers are carnations and I could smell those things, even through my stuffy nose. Heaven. πŸ™‚

      πŸ˜† re: your prom queen remark. hehehe

      Captain Sully is just one of those people who gives off good person vibes, you know? So nice.

      So glad I got to see you tonight. xoxo

  6. grrrace

    OH, and yes… ABC’s coverage was WAY better than Channel 5’s. Thanks for posting everything!!! I’m still working on the Rose Parade album… πŸ™‚

    • I was so disappointed in KTLA’s coverage of it. They were acting like it was announcer social hour. ABC’s coverage was much more professional and thorough of each float.

  7. py

    Hi Jammie, I hope you are in good health by the time you read this?

    Thank you for your thoughtful New Year greetings and wishes. I wish you and your loved ones happiness, good health and lots of blessings in the year of 2010.

    This Rose Parade sounds memorable, especially with your dear husband, participating in it, on one of the floats. It’s a lovely way to start a brand new year! Cheers. πŸ™‚

    • I’m still working on feeling better, thank you for your kind wishes and you are so right. It was a lovely way to start the new year. πŸ™‚

  8. So Exciting Jammie….I looked for Tony, but I didn’t see him…I had my TV on KTLA…..I cannot imagine how TRULY Exciting it had to be to be there and for ALL the events leading up to “THE DAY”…..! Congratulations to Tony and Michael….it had to be so incredibly exciting for them—especially Michael!

    • KTLA’s coverage of the floats was sorely lacking. I posted the video of ABC’s coverage of the Honda float (it’s only 2 minutes long), which was much more thorough… describing the flowers and such, and their cameras went down both sides of the float for full coverage, of not only the flowers but also the float riders. You should take a look at it, it’s linked there at the end of the post. I really think you’d enjoy it given your love of flowers, particularly.


  9. We watched it on tv- WAY TO GO TONY!! What a wonderful experience : )

    Happy Happy 2010

  10. those are cool pics … and story!!!! :o)
    and now that we know where tony was, we paused the pvr some more and did see him – though they should have really zoomed in on him and the little brother …

    too bad you guys were under the weather, but atleast the weather itself was spectacular on that day!!!

    and guess what, i’m going to arizona on monday … but for a very short visit … only the 11th to the 20th (those being travel days too) … if you were only a little closer so we could get together for lunch or coffee … but i do realize it’s 7 hours away or something like that!!! so close but so far, eh … leo wanted me to book for a little bit longer, but i think that should be enough to help me make it through the winter (and i don’t want to leave leo alone for long anyways) …

    blessings on ya!

    • Oh, I’m so glad you were able to see some part of it. πŸ™‚ If you’re able, you can watch the video I have linked there in my post of ABC’s coverage (not sure which network you were watching). Yes, as always, the weather was perfect for the first. It’s kind of a California thing, I think. πŸ™‚

      Ohhh, Arizona. Yes, that’s a bit of a ways away… you know, one of the places I want to visit someday is where you and Leo live. I do so want to meet you. πŸ™‚ I hope your trip is very blessed, I know how you struggle so with balancing Leo’s needs and your time away from him.


  11. i DO hope you and tony make it this way … it is beautiful here … :o) … as one of my AZ friends says “so much for so few” …. i guess she noticed the lack of population compared to phoenix!

    • Well, I assume the invitation you issued a few years ago is a long standing one… πŸ™‚ So much for so few, indeed, sounds like a good summary. πŸ™‚

  12. noonie

    Now I see what you were talking about… what a wonderful float… I’ve never seen anything that grand outside of Disney.. but then you lot do like to do stuff bigger… my mum used to make and decorate our youth club float with her friend… I think she would pass out if we showed her those ones. EG.

    • That float was simply amazing. 75 feet long and loaded with flowers. I’ve read that those floats weigh something like 55,000 pounds, or more, and I have to wonder how much weight the flowers add, because there’s a lot of ’em. They have to build special tires for them so they don’t have blow-outs. Isn’t that nuts?

      If you showed her pictures she might pass out, can you imagine if she saw it in person?? πŸ˜›

  13. Good way to see the parade (but not with that cold). Maybe some day you’ll get to ride a float

    • I felt like I was in pretty good company there, everyone in the grandstands were coughing and hacking, as well. I think all of California is sick right now.

      Float riding is a pretty special experience. I think it’d be fun!

  14. open invitation … you betcha …

  15. daydreambetty

    I agree, seeing a parade in person is definitely better than watching it on tv. I only saw a couple minutes of the parade on tv before we had to leave our hotel. I didn’t see the float Tony was on, but figured you’d have it covered anyway, so I’m just a little behind in sharing your excitement. πŸ™‚

    • Everyone always says, it’s just as good on TV … missing the crowds and stuff. I say, nope. Crowds are half the fun, the people-watching you know. And then the smell of these floats, the flowers, oh my. *swoons*

      Yes, it’s OK, I’ve got it covered. NOW GO WATCH THE LINKED VIDEOS! πŸ˜›