Glitches and Glitter: Rose Parade 2011 in the books

2011 Tournament of Roses Rose Parade Queen.
2011 Tournament of Roses Rose Parade Queen. Jason Georges/KPCC

Marchers, musicians, equestrian units and other entertainers in the 122nd Rose Parade played to enthusiastic, but chilly crowds under clear skies Saturday.

Parade organizers estimated Pasadena's signature annual event attracts 700,000 spectators, many of whom camped out, enduring overnight temperatures in the low 40s on Colorado Boulevard to hold front-row spots for family and friends.

However, most parade watchers arrived in the early morning in cars, tour buses and on the Metro Gold Line. The first few hundred yards of the route, along Orange Grove Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, are closed off for the TV cameras, so the crowd heading into bleachers there had to pass through guards to get into the ticket-only area.

There were few apparent glitches as the parade unfolded. The float commemorating California's Latino heritage built by residents of Sierra Madre broke down before it got to the starting line causing several minutes delay in the parade. However, a tow truck pulled it through.

The floats ranged from sedate tributes to Ronald Reagan, organ donors and people living Alzheimer's Disease to the exuberant leaping of dogs into a water-filled pool. The float celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Pac-Man video game was easily the tallest float, topped by a birthday cake that shot multi-colored streamers into the air.

Some of the marching bands had as much choreography as music, including large bands from Mexico and Japan. Of course, bands from Rose Bowl rivals University of Wisconsin and Texas Christian University got standing ovations, as did the patriotic entries from branches of the armed forces.

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