Arts & Entertainment

Security concerns, temperatures don't take the fun out of the 2016 Rose Parade

Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Anti-Donald Trump skywriting above Pasadena on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 during the Rose Parade.
Ashley Bailey/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Armed Los Angeles Sheriff's Deputies provide security at the end of the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Details of a float participating in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, January 1, 2016. AFP PHOTO / ROBYN BECK / AFP / ROBYN BECK (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Disney characters wave from Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
In this handout image provided by Disneyland, The Disneyland Resort entry in the 2016 Rose Parade brings to life the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration at the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2016 in Pasadena.
Handout/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) float Downtown Abbey: The Final Adventure, waits to roll in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Jan. 1, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
The South Dakota Department of Tourism float featuring Mount Rushmore National Memorial participates in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Jan. 1, 2016.
Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Tournament of Roses Chair Brian James in front of the Honda float at the 2016 Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay drives in the 2016 Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay drives in the 2016 Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Rose Parade officials on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
People sit on the Honda float at the Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
A band marches in the Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
People in the streets ahead of the Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
Under the stands at the Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC
Star Wars characters and The Millennium Falcon are part of Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration float celebrating the park's 60th anniversary, in the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena on Jan. 1, 2016.
People in the streets waiting for the Rose Parade on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016.
Jed Kim/KPCC


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The flower-drenched Rose Parade rolled with few hitches Friday under cloudless blue skies to the delight of hundreds of thousands of fans, some of whom camped out all night on sidewalks determined not to let security fears get in the way of their fun.

The temperature at the start of the annual New Year's Day pageant in Pasadena barely topped 40 degrees but spectators shed layers as the sun lit up dozens of bright floats featuring characters and settings woven with roses, carnations and other flowers.

The theme of this year's parade, "Know Your Adventure," was inspired by the centennial of the National Park Service in 2016. The grand marshal was documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, who produced the Emmy-award winning series, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea."

Ken Burns video

Burns waved to the crowd with his family from an antique convertible. Earlier, he said he has been a fan of the parade since he was a child, though he had never before attended in person.

"I don't think I've ever missed one on television since the early '60s," he told parade organizers.

The 44 floats included an entry paying homage to the City of Hope medical center that was built by and featured athlete cancer survivors.

A losing record didn't stop the Los Angeles Lakers from entering a float titled "Every Second is an Adventure," ridden by team legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Paula Abdul, a former member of the Laker Girls dance squad. The crowd-pleasing entry featured two acrobats swaying over revelers atop flexible poles.

The massive Disney entry featured a Star Wars theme complete with stormtroopers on one end and characters from the animated hit "Frozen" on the other. It won the Extraordinaire Trophy for most spectacular float — one of several awards given to the massive works of art that thrilled spectators along Colorado Boulevard.

Disney float behind the scenes

Disney float

"The Bachelor" television series float depicting a romantic date on an exotic beach also drew big cheers from the crowd and won the President's Award for most effective use of flowers.

The India Punjab float got people moving to its Bollywood beat. It was followed by whooping and hollering by a mounted unit from the U.S. Army's 1st Cavalry Division.

Overhead, a squadron of sky-writing planes scrawled anti-Trump messages but few people seemed to be looking away from the floats. A gentle Santa Ana wind carried the aroma of sizzling bacon-wrapped hot dogs down the boulevard.

Enthusiastic fans began lining the parade route Thursday. Many sipped hot cocoa and were equipped with portable heaters, blankets and sleeping bags to stay warm as overnight temperatures dipped to the mid-30s.

Their numbers were expected to swell to more than 700,000 for the annual parade that served as a kick-off to the 102nd Rose Bowl football game between Iowa and Stanford.

Temple City's Caryle Fox, who said that she's been to the Rose Parade at least 10 times, scored some surprisingly good seats when she showed up at 4:30 a.m. with her group.

"You have to do it. You have to sit out here and freeze, and it's worth it. It's fabulous," Fox told KPCC.

Fox, who used to volunteer with the Rose Parade group, said that security was tighter this year. She said that she saw a truckload of what looked like around 20 security personnel with dogs drive past her.

Authorities said the event was held under unprecedented security, although there were no known threats.

Indy 500 winner Ryan Hunter-Reay was driving a little slower than normal, pacing the Rose Parade.

"I've never had to drive this slow in a car like this, so it's going to be tough, it's going to require some discipline and restraint to keep it under 3 miles per hour, that's for sure," Hunter-Reay told KPCC.

He had to drive two-and-a-half miles per hour, to be precise. Hunter-Reay said that they'd done the math, and while the parade route would take him a minute and a half in his Indy 500 car, at his pacing speed, it would take him two hours and 10 minutes.

Geoffrey Hayton, an attorney from Redlands, near the site of the recent San Bernardino attack, said his father began attending the parade in the 1950s and his family has attended ever since. For the first time this year though, he had a conversation with his wife about the potential dangers of going to the parade.

Ultimately, they decided fear wouldn't stop them. "Statistically, I feel like we're pretty safe," Hayton said.

The massive influx of people into the city, the length of the parade route, and numerous venues ranging from float decorating pavilions to Tournament of Roses headquarters and the Rose Bowl stadium have always required a huge deployment of law enforcement, but officials said the 2016 security effort was bigger than ever.

Mark Selby, deputy special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles and the federal coordinator for the Rose Parade and security, said the plan involved unprecedented resources and technologies.

Federal authorities intended to use a variety of explosives-detection methods ranging from bomb-sniffing dogs to devices that register even minute amounts of radiation, Selby said.

Officials warned Rose Bowl game spectators that a number of items would not be allowed inside the stadium, including banners, large beverage containers and drones.

Downton Abbey float

This story has been updated.