UPDATE 1:38 p.m. - The bands chosen for this year's Rose Parade came from near and far. The hometown Pasadena City College honor band travelled a few blocks. The Banda El Salvador travelled four days — the high schoolers from Central America arrived by bus with a performance that did not disappoint.
The theme of this year¹s event was "Oh, the Places You'll Go," the title of Dr. Seuss' last book. Dr. Jane Goodall served as Grand Marshal, waving to the crowd from a horse drawn carriage.
Typically a B-2 stealth bomber begins the parade. This year it roared overhead closer to the end to coincide with the Defense Department's first-ever Rose Parade float. It was a quarter-million dollar replica of the Korean War memorial, meant to commemorate the "forgotten war."
After the sanctioned parade ended, protestors with bullhorns surrounded an unofficial float rolling down Colorado Boulevard. It was created by Occupy Wall Street, with a giant Mr. Monopoly figure on top meant to symbolize of the evils of big banks.
KPCC's Ben Bergman says the message seemed lost on many in the crowd who perhaps weren't in the mood for politics. Or maybe they were just tired.
Michael Kell from Riverside described his state to Bergman as "somewhere between exhaustion and deliriousness, I don't know, tiredness."
Kell was so wiped out from staking out his spot overnight that he fell asleep and missed the second half of the parade. But awake or asleep, he says he never misses a Rose Parade, and he'll be back next year.
Thousands of people in Southern California are lining the route of the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena.
The die-hards staked out their spots early — some camping out since earlier in the week — with folding chairs, hammocks, portable barbeque grills and fire pits. They brought in the new year by throwing marshmallows, shaving cream and tortillas, and then hunkered down to stay warm in sleeping bags.
KPCC's Ben Bergman reports some people have been camped out since 7 am on Monday — one family came with 45 people. A few parade-goers said they have been coming to the event for a few years, and that this is by far the coldest year they’ve experienced. They reported that it got down to 32 degrees Monday night.
In terms of the fans of the two teams facing off in the Rose Bowl at 2 pm, there seem to be a lot more Stanford fans at the parade than Wisconsin fans, presumably because Stanford is a lot closer to Pasadena.
Pasadena police report 21 arrests overnight, all but one of them for public intoxication. One person was arrested in possession of tools to break into cars.
For the second year in a row, the Occupy movement will move its own float down Colorado Blvd after the Rose Parade ends. Occupy members say they have not come to disrupt the parade, they just want to protest the policies of America’s big banks – some of which are sponsoring floats.
The parade features floats covered with flowers and plant material and marching bands from across the country. It will be broadcasts around the world.
College student Brandy Grueter spent the night on the sidewalk with her younger brother and saved spots for about 20 friends and family. She says she slept 20 minutes but would rally enough energy once the parade started.
The pre-dawn line at a Starbuck's stretched around the block.
Some parade veterans said it’s not as much about the parade as it is about being part of the annual extravaganza.