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Rain, security concerns don't dampen Rose Parade

The 2017 Rose Parade theme was
The 2017 Rose Parade theme was "Echoes of Success."
Ben Bergman/KPCC

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After waiting in the cold — many camping overnight — spectators wrapped themselves in blankets and sipped coffee and cider as 44 floats and 22 marching bands paraded past them for the 128th annual Rose Parade in Pasadena on Monday.

"We only got three hours of sleep, but we’re glad it didn’t rain,” said Austin Stewart, who camped out with his mother since noon on Sunday to get a front row view of a parade she's always wanted to see.

"It's been on my bucket for a very long time,” said Melissa Stewart.

Nighttime lows dipped in the 40s and the temperatures during the parade were just above 50 degrees. Except for occasional sprinkles overnight, the weather stayed dry.

Rain had been one concern. The other: security.

Officials announced last week they were stepping up measures in the wake of a pre-Christmas truck attack at a crowded Berlin market that left a dozen people dead.

Workers in Pasadena set up water-filled orange barricades at more than 50 intersections to block vehicles from driving onto the five-and-a-half mile parade route on Colorado Blvd.

But spectators seemed mostly to shrug off the additional threat and ended up sitting or standing on barricades Monday to get a better view of the floats.

“There was a lot more security, a lot more officers," said Ontario resident Jose Vavala, as he sat along the parade route. “We try not to focus on it.”

More than a thousand law enforcement officers patrolled city streets, but Pasadena Police reported just seven arrests, all for minor offenses.

"It was very uneventful as far as crime and as far as people getting carried away," said Pasadena Police Lt. Peter Hettema.

The undisputed viral hit of the parade was a float from the Lucy Pet Foundation that featured dogs surfing in a 10,000 gallon tank of water. 

Surfing dogs tweet

At 74 tons and 126-feet long, the float set a new world record for the longest and heaviest float in Rose Parade history. 

Famed Olympians Janet Evans, Allyson Felix, and Greg Louganis served as grand marshals of the event, a nod to Los Angeles' campaign to host the Olympics in 2024. 

The Rose Parade is held New Years Day except when that day falls on a Sunday, as it did this year. The decision not to march on Sunday dates back to the early days of the parade.

"The Tournament wanted to avoid frightening horses that would be hitched outside churches and thus interfering with worship services so the events were moved to the next day, January 2," the Rose Parade explains on its website. "Though horses are no longer outside local churches, the tradition remains to this day."