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Rose Parade 2012: Viewers admire floats

January 2, 2012 |  9:40 am

Sweetdreams

Rose Parade-goers Virginia Miller, 55, and Veronica Baca, 56, visited the start of the parade route to admire and take pictures of floats still illuminated by floodlights early Monday morning.

The cousins have not seen each in 30 years and thought the parade would be a great opportunity to reconnect.

"What better way to unite?" said Baca, who traveled from Lubbock, Texas.

PHOTOS: 2012 Rose Parade

For Baca, the trip to Pasadena to attend the parade was a first.

“I've watched this on TV since I was little,” she said in awe of the towering floats.  “You can feel the joy and dedication in the floats.  You feel the love and beauty you can't see on TV."

Nearby, a float operator told onlookers that Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc. broke the Guinness World Record for the longest, heaviest float.  Marked at 119 feet, 7 inches long, the apparatus has an 85-feet-long water tank that holds 6,600 gallons of water.  It weighs a total of 138,000 pounds. 

But what fascinated many parade-goers to the float was its six dogs, including four English bulldogs, trained to surf. The float is aimed at promoting the active canine lifestyle and to show what healthy dogs can do.

This is the fourth time the organization has traveled the 5 1/2-mile parade route. The last three years featured man’s best friend snowboarding, skimboarding and skateboarding. 

Larry Firth, the float operator, said that even though the float is so long, the turns on the parade route should be "very easy.”

“We had harder turns getting here,” he said. 

A group of men donning in Spanx and water backpacks took a breather after a run to the parade site.  Kevin Klaus, 36, of San Gabriel said the childhood friends used to camp overnight at the Rose Parade when they were in high school.  He said he will continue that tradition with his own family.

"I have kids and we will camp out at some point,” Klaus said. “It has to be done."

His 5-year-old daughter was eagerly waiting to become one of the campers.

Virginia Miller, who was hustling to see as many floats as possible before the parade started, lingered at the Natural Balance Pet Food exhibit for a while.

"I want to see the doggy surf,” she said. “The ability to train that doggie to surf.  How many people can even get their dogs to pee at the right place?"

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-- Rosanna Xia in Pasadena and Angel Jennings in Los Angeles

Photo: The American Honda "Sweet Dreams" float at the 123rd Rose Parade. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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Southern California -- this just in

10 pre-Rose Parade arrests a 'significant decrease,' police say

Rose Parade fans

Pasadena police had made 10 Rose Parade-related arrests as of 5 a.m. Monday morning, a “significant decrease” over previous years, according to a department spokesman.

Of the 10 arrests, six were misdemeanors, including four for public intoxication, and four were felonies, said Lt. Rick Aversano of the Pasadena Police Department. He said the nature of the felony arrests was not immediately clear.

“It seems like year-to-year, arrests get lower and lower,” Aversano said. “I would say the fact that it wasn’t New Year’s Eve last night made a big difference.”

Aversano said he was monitoring Occupy Rose Parade activity but “everything is quiet right now.”

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-- Matt Stevens

Photo: Rebecca Breitlow, 19, and Devin Dilling, 19, both freshmen at Wisconsin, get ready for the start of the 123nd Rose Parade. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

Rose Parade: Thousands eagerly line Colorado Boulevard

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