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Rose Parade 2013: Event never loses its charm for longtime parade-goer

January 1, 2013 | 10:11 am

PHOTOS: 2013 Rose Parade

After several decades of attending the Rose Parade, the event has never lost its shine for 68-year-old Douglas Wallace.

"It's kind of exciting, isn't it?" Wallace said as he watched the Stanford University marching band go by. "It's the granddaddy of all the parades."

For Wallace, the parade isn't about televised pageantry. He comes for the excitement and energy of the event.

PHOTOS: 2013 Rose Parade

"It's an auspicious way to begin the year," Wallace said.

Actually, Wallace doesn't usually stay for the actual parading. He likes to come in the predawn hours for the judging of floats by the glow of street lamps.

Over the years, the parade has become something of a private pleasure, Wallace said. Typically he brings a friend, but since he arrives before 5 a.m., sometimes he ends up watching it by himself, like today.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

A group of teenagers saunter by, dancing to the marching band. Wallace cracks a smile.

"So much exuberance," Wallace said.

Wallace's parents used to schlep him to the parade as a kid, and he estimates that he's been to more than 25 parades over "many, many" decades. But something's different about this year --  "more of a party atmosphere" -- Wallace says.

"I don't know why, but it seems more festive. It seems like there are a lot more people here," said Wallace, a retired schoolteacher from Torrance.

After a year of "nothing spectacular," Wallace said he thinks people use the parade as a reason to look forward.

"I think people are looking for something more optimistic," Wallace said. "Maybe get their minds off of all the economic gridlock," Wallace said, referring to the "fiscal cliff" negotiations.

If anything, Wallace said, the parade is always a good workout.

"I parked two miles from here," Wallace said. "It's getting longer every year."

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Rose Parade fans stake out prime spots on a chilly night

-- Frank Shyong

Photo: Dancers entertain the crowd alongside the Kaiser Permanente's 'Oh, The Healthy Things You Can Do!' float during the the 2013 Rose Parade. Credit: Christina House / For the Times

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