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Rose Parade 2013: Costa Rican dancers, Salvadoran band join festivities

January 1, 2013 |  8:14 am
PHOTOS: 2013 Rose Parade

Huddled about 10 feet from the lead Rose Parade float, a group of Costa Rican folk dancers made last-minute arrangements to their brightly colored dresses and slowly hopped in place to warm up.

Despite weeks of practice, 15-year-old Julissa Blanco, of the Alma Tica dancing troupe, was nervous.

"I'm really excited, though," Julissa said, her eye shadow nearly matching the light purple flower in her hair.

PHOTOS: 2013 Rose Parade

Band members from El Salvador, who traveled by bus over four days to participate in the parade, stopped by to snap a picture.

Drummer David Vega, 20, said he'd never forget the experience.

Vega, decked out in royal blue sweat pants and sweater, said it's been a trip of a lifetime.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

"So far it's been a marvelous experience to be a part of the world's largest parade," Vega said in Spanish. "But more than anything I'm proud to be representing my country."

A passerby screamed out "Viva!" and the group proudly echoed the exhortation before heading out to join the rest of the 160 band members.

At the city of Torrance float, Nicholas Lowe gave final instructions to riders dressed as a surfer, a chef and flight attendant: "Buckle up and watch out for the flowers."

READER PHOTOS: Submit your parade photos

As the sun started to peek out, the Costa Rican folk dancers took their places in front of the second float.

The volcano on the Dole float behind them shot out a burst of fire, warming the air for a second. With Costa Rican music playing, Julissa smiled and waved her dress to cheers and applause as the parade started, not a hint of nervousness on her face.

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-- Adolfo Flores

Photo: A rider on the "Dreaming of Paradise'" float by Dole gets some last-minute prep before the parade. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times

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