Final preparations marched forward Monday for the 130th Rose Parade, with forecasters warning thousands of spectators to expect frigid, blustery weather from cold Santa Ana winds in Southern California.
Fans scrambled at noon to claim spots along the 5.5-mile (9-kilometer) route through Pasadena, but the bright and sunny afternoon was expected to give way to an extremely cold overnight campout before the floral spectacle New Year’s Day.
Gusts might range from 25 to 35 mph (40 to 56 kph) and early morning wind chill readings would be in the 30s, the National Weather Service said.
Under the theme “The Melody of Life,” the parade of flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrian units kicks off at 8 a.m. Tuesday with an opening performance that includes recording artist Chaka Khan, who is serving as parade grand marshal.
“This is all new for me,” the 65-year-old Khan told The Associated Press recently. “I love challenges. And I love new stuff.”
Diversity has been a watchword for the Tournament of Roses Association, which organizes the parade, since it came under sharp criticism in the early 1990s as being a bastion of white men.
At float-building facilities in and around Pasadena, meanwhile, professionals and volunteers worked to complete finishing touches for the early morning rollout before fans in bleachers, on crowded sidewalks and those watching on TV.
“We’re in the final push,” said veteran designer Dave Pittman, who has two floats in the 2019 parade. “The weather was beautiful, which was great for the volunteers but tough on the flowers because they were blooming a little early.”
Source: The Associated Press