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From Pasadena, California: The 131st Tournament of Roses

ToR Burbank
“Rise Up” by the City of Burbank pays tribute to the spirit and resilience of California communities after the major wildfires of 2018.

It doesn’t get much more Pasadena, California than enjoying the Tournament of Roses parade on a brisk, sunny New Year’s Day. To kick off the new year and new decade, we headed up the road to Colorado Boulevard dark and early for the parade.

This year’s theme was “The Power of Hope,” and we saw this displayed throughout the parade, especially in the float designs. More prevalent to me however, were the sub themes tied to this overarching theme of Hope. I especially appreciated the celebration of the centennial of women’s suffrage here in the United States.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.”
The 19th Amendment was passed in 1919 and finally ratified in 1920, granting women the right to vote. This ‘radical’ change to the Constitution was the result of the efforts of suffragists and their supporters- male and female- over the course of a century. Women marched, lectured, petitioned, lobbied, and even literally fought for the right to vote. After those many years, it was finally granted by the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It is a freedom and privilege I hope to never take lightly. As a U.S. citizen and a woman, I have the right to vote and to have that small yet important say in how my community is governed. I also have the ability to hold public office, and as one who holds local elected office, I am forever thankful that I have the privilege to work to make a positive impact in my community. This right is something I hope my girls will honor with their lives and future votes, and that they will appreciate the work and sacrifice of those who fought for our freedoms long before we were ever born. And my greater hope is that one day, there will be equality and opportunity for all women worldwide.

ToR south pas
South Pasadena’s entry, “Victory At Last” celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment. The hat, button and pins are symbols of the era, with the scroll and pen signifying the signing of the Amendment.
Historical costumes remind us of the suffragettes who marched and rallied for the right of women to vote.

In addition to the floats celebrating the 19th Amendment, today’s B-2 flyover opening the parade was performed by a female pilot for the first time. U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel Nicola Polidar flew the stealth bomber over the parade route and surrounding cities. That I thought was really cool! It was a glorious, low flyover, and was the perfect kickoff to “The Power of Hope.”

The kids and I also loved the floats honoring military veterans and first responders. I feel it is fitting to celebrate those who work to protect our nation and communities, many of whom inspire hope and encourage our kids to dream big. The Chinese American Heritage Foundation “American Heroes” float shown below pays tribute to American service members and the World War II veterans who have received the Congressional Gold Medal. Over 20,000 Chinese American service members served in the Armed Forces at the height of the war effort, and this float was a beautiful tribute to the heroes who served.

“American Heroes” had sepia-toned floragraphs showing six historic snapshots of the war.
The United States Marine Corps Mounted Colorguard
The United States Marine Corps West Coast Composite Band sounded amazing.
The 1st Cavalry Division Horse Detachment from Fort Hood, Texas
The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float, “First Responders Bring Hope”

This Tournament of Roses might just have been my favorite yet. We all truly enjoyed this year’s parade. From the talented marching bands who came from cities in the vicinity of Pasadena, across the country, and even overseas, to the creatively constructed floats, it was a morning to enjoy in true SoCal fashion. Here are a few more of our favorite floats, as well as equine units. Featured here are floats by regularly seen contributors such as the Cal Poly Universities, Rotary, the city of Downey, Underground Service Alert of Southern California, the city of La Cañada-Flintridge, and Donate Life, as well as other organizations who entered the parade this year.

The Cal Poly Universities float bring together students from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Cal Poly Pomona. I am proud to be a Cal Poly alumna.
“Hope Connects the World” depicts a penguin wearing a scarf showing flags from around the world, heading out for service.  The volunteers “pulling” the float are helping her in her journey.
The Downey Rose Float Association’s “On the Wings of Hope”
Underground Service Alert always has the cutest animal-themed floats reminding us to “Look before you dig.”
ToR 2020 NWM
Northwestern Mutual’s float, “Spend Your LIfe Living” depicts a family of llamas relaxing in a LLazy River, encouraging us to use our finances wisely so that we can have fun living life.
ToR 2020 Huntington
The Huntington Library’s “Cultivating Curiousity”
Part of La Canada’s rose float, “Dodo Bird Flight School,” The Good Captain dodo bird leads the pack.
La Canada’s flight school shows the world’s flightless birds banding together and flying aboard a colorful dirigible. Who says they can’t fly…
The Cowboy Channel’s entry was pretty neat, featuring cowboys in New York City. And fireworks.
The City of Hope
“Light in the Darkness” from Donate Life.  The sepia floragraphs are photos of people who have donated their organs.  The photos were decorated by family members and sent back for placement on the float.

The 131st Tournament of Roses was a perfect way to ring in 2020. Here’s to an awesome new decade. I can’t wait to see what the ‘roaring 20s’ has in store. Cheers!

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19th Amendment source:

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