Rose Parade 2013: Dr. Seuss' 'Follow Your Dreams' starts moving
An elaborate Dr. Seuss-themed float launched the 124th Rose Parade in Pasadena, heralding this year's theme: "Oh, The Places You'll Go!"
The elaborate "Follow Your Dreams" float, containing 20,000 individual blossoms -- and more than 5,000 roses -- conjured up several fantasy islands. From a 24-foot high castle, a girl scooted herself down a metal slide through a flowery arc -- but the slide had so much friction that she had to use her arms to push herself down.
Earlier, as the sun rose over Colorado Boulevard, hundreds of people were already shielding themselves from the morning chill -- which dipped into the 40s -- huddled in blankets and clutching coffee cups.
At the corner of Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado Boulevard, the blinking lights of nearby bars were still going, though the barstools had been upended hours ago with the last of the New Year's revelers.
"Awesome!" yelled a tightly bundled Diego Estrada, 6, pointing to the Goodyear blimp as it floated by.
As the parade moved along, officials dressed in white, head to toe, zipped around in white scooters on Colorado Boulevard, and buses occasionally rolled through, escorted by police.
Azalea Tauer, 36, of Temple City, padded with six layers and a wool scarf, had a fire blazing nearby in a small charcoal barbecue she brought. Her family spent the night angling for a spot for the first time.
"I woke up at 6:30 this morning," she begins to say, and realizes she's more than 24 hours off; that was yesterday. "It just feels like one long day to me," she said.
A table nearby was stocked with a pizza box, half-drunk bottles of water and Coke, an open bag of flaming hot Cheetos and board games to while away the hours.
Between hers and another family, they've staked enough space for 40 people, two fireplaces and a dozen chairs. The operation started by dropping off her teenage kids and nephew Monday at 7:30 a.m.
"We were late," she explained. Then she circled back to pack and deliver supplies -- sleeping bags, firewood, drinks and anything they could find in the pantry -- in time to claim their spot right at noon Monday.
"You pretty much have to move out of your house and go camping."
She and two kids, husband and nephew spent the night huddled under blankets and sipping hot chocolate.
The Tauers usually wake up on New Year's Day, and the house fills with the smell of freshly made cinnamon rolls and bacon made by her husband. Then they all sit on the couch, huddled in blankets, sipping hot chocolate and watching the parade. This year, she wanted to experience the real deal before her 18-year-old daughter goes off to college. "What a shame to be living here for 30 years and not know what this is like," she said. "Before she leaves, we want to experience that with her."
She said seeing so many people out celebrating together gives her hope for the new year after a tough 2012, where shootings and a tough economy stick out in her mind. "It makes me feel like 2013 will be better. It makes me excited to see what's to come," she said just before a pack of joggers, some dressed in tutus and new year's garb, ran by hollering.
Earlier in the night, a stranger had given her a $20 bill. Tauer tried to give it back to him. "Will you do something nice for someone?"
Later, she saw a man selling beanies who had been out all night, who had a bad cough. She gave the money to him, and refused a Beanie in return.
Twenty minutes late, the man could be seen still walking up and down Colorado, hawking his product and singing "b-b-b-beanie and the jets!"
-- Christine Mai-Duc in Pasadena
Photo: "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" kicks off the 124th Tournament of Roses Parade as it makes it's way down Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times