Hundreds of thousands of people turned out today to enjoy the 120th Rose Parade in postcard-perfect Pasadena weather. KPCC's Brian Watt was one of them.
Brian Watt: It was a bit nippy at the Allen Station stop on the Metro Gold Line at 6:30 in the morning. But a woman named Phyllis from a place called "Lake in the Hills" offered a reality check.
Phyllis: We came in from Northern Illinois where it was 14 inches of snow.
Watt: A few blocks south of the station, Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard was a two-sided trail of sleeping bags, air mattresses, folding chairs, and fire pits. Some folks had camped there the night before – some, even longer. Michael Kruly of the Sons of God Motorcycle Ministry, Tujunga Chapter, described how he'd spent the evening.
Michael Kruly: Throwing marshmallows at cars, being pelted by marshmallows from passing cars. Trying to stay warm. Harassing the neighbors. Making fun of the girl with the Lilo and Stitch hat on. Just chatting with everyone and just being a good neighbor and enjoying ourselves.
Watt: As the sun climbed higher, another reminder of how great Southland weather can be came from Joe and Denise Wann. They came in from snowy, windy Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I figured they were here to see Penn State battle USC in the Rose Bowl. They had another reason.
Joe Wann: Her mother's 80th birthday.
Denise Wann: My mother's wish for her 80th birthday was to come to the Rose Parade again.
Watt: And when was the last time she came?
Denise Wann: About 15 years ago, we were here, when my dad was still alive, so this was her wish. Here we are. (laughs)
Watt: There's a reason they call the huge bat-like aircraft that flew over the parade route a stealth bomber: it's pretty quiet – until it's almost right overhead.
[Sound of stealth bomber]
Watt: Forty-year-old Mark Montano of El Monte has shown up at the Rose Parade for at least half the New Years of his life. For him, it's all about the music.
Mark Montano: If it was just the floats, I'd watch that at home, but I like the marching bands from all different places.
[Sound of USC marching band]
Watt: Montano wore a red-and-gold USC sweatshirt. Ten yards away, Mike Leahey wore his blue-and-white Nittany Lions t-shirt with pride. The Penn State grad had flown in from Washington, D.C. for the football game. He'd watched previous Rose Parades on television. He said even high-definition TV doesn't do justice to the floats.
Mike Leahey: I mean just the size of everything and how intricate the designs are is incredible. Especially when they have some with photos made out of seeds. I mean it's unbelievable. It's really artistic.
Watt: A Penn State alum liked the floats. A USC fan preferred the marching band. Everybody loved the weather.