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Rose Parade: Getting a great viewing spot requires an early start

As dawn broke on a new year in Pasadena, folks gathering to watch the 122nd annual Rose Parade jockeyed and angled for prime real estate along Colorado Boulevard.

Many had been camping out on the sidewalk since Friday morning with only blankets, small wood fires and body heat from family and friends to protect them from the unusually cold conditions.

"We're high-class hobos right now," Kathleen Bendick, 20, said with a giggle. The Los Angeles resident and four friends were seated around a makeshift table on Marengo Avenue and Colorado, passing the time by playing the card game Apples to Apples. "This is the first time for all of us to spend the night here."

Bendick burrowed into a sleeping bag and pointed at card partner Chris Gorman: "We're all here because his brother is a herald trumpeter in the parade and it's a big deal."

Gorman, 26, nodded apologetically and said that despite the cold, the large crowd and party atmosphere was an interesting way to spend New Year's.

A few blocks away on Fair Oaks Avenue, Samir Esmili of Duarte warmed his hands over a small flame from a barbecue grill at his feet and reminisced about taking his wife on their very first date 10 years ago, on New Year's Eve at that exact intersection.

"We'd met in early December, so I figured, why not spend the night waiting for the parade?" Esmili said. "Then I could spend more time with her."

"Back then," his wife Amal interjected wryly, "he thought it was very romantic."

But they stopped going after life and work got too busy, Esmili said. Now that their sons Omar, 9, and Kareem, 4, are a little older and hardier, Esmili said, they were determined to restart the tradition for their kids. "Such good memories for them later on," he said.


The first step in parade safety

What shaky economy? Tourists here for the Rose Bowl game are splurging

Photos: Early years of the Rose Parade

-- Shan Li in Old Pasadena


Comments () | Archives (5)

Their is no way I would camp out in this very cold weather to get a good view of the Rose Parade. You can get the best view on T.V.!!!

Mr. Papillion, I salute you! You are clearly a true liver of life! Bravo!

Mr. Papillion, You really miss out by not going to see the parade in person! There really is a sense of being there in the excitement, there is the smell of the flowers, and there at the parade the colors are such that the TV can not reproduce.

I LOVE watching the Rose Parade live... you definitely have to be mentally prepared for crowds and cold but a short few hours for priceless memories. This year stayed home to watch potentially "great coverage" from the comfort of home ( I am pregnant) but I WILL NEVER watch NBC again!

Al and Shaun were extremely annoying. A major surprise because typically NBC provides quality hosts. This year they talked over the bands, were sterile quiet when horses road by, and made inappropriate comments. I'll be making the trek live or watching some other channel!

My hats off to the brave souls who spent the night in the freezing temperatures, folks like Kathleen, Chris and Samir. Maybe next year I'll make the 25 mile trek to pasadena again and hopefully it won't be so cold. I enjoyed the parade coverage on TV, except the beginning was disconcerting, which showed a military aircraft hovering over such a nice event. I wish we could have peace in the world in 2011. Wishing all a happy new year


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