Rose Parade fans stake out prime spots on a chilly night
In less than 12 hours, hundreds of float wheels will grind across the streets of downtown Pasadena.
But just before 11 p.m. Monday, the pavement on Colorado Boulevard received a different kind of abuse: a gooey layer of corn tortillas, marshmallows and misfired silly string, flung by dozens of Rose Parade fans who had settled in for a long and chilly night.
"There's one! Get him!" said Alex Robles, 16, jumping off the curb onto Colorado Boulevard and brandishing a can of silly string at an approaching sedan.
Then he paused.
"Wait, wait, wait -- that's a cop." He stuffed the can back into his hoodie.
Robles of Covina and his cousin, 13-year-old Sean Sparks of Glendora, had been at it for nearly an hour. They waited patiently for their ideal target: cars with windows down, driving in the lane closest to them. The aerosol can's 4-foot range isn't much, they pointed out.
Officials expect 700,000 to 1 million visitors in Pasadena for the parade, which begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
Sparks' parents, Sam and Marilyn, waited on a sidewalk nearby. Marilyn went to the parade every year as she was growing up.
Children snuggled between fleece blankets and air mattresses to the soundtrack of vuvuzelas, car horns and the snap of party poppers. Vendors hawked roses, fleece hats and sunglasses studded with LED lights.
Adults tinkered with heat lamps and aluminum fire pits the size of hubcaps. By 11 p.m., the temperature had dropped into the mid-40s.
"We sure got a cold one," said Brian Fuller, a Rose Parade volunteer directing traffic at St. John Avenue. He wore multiple layers, including a fleece headwrap that covered his chin and forehead.
Behind him on Green Street, hulking floats lumbered toward their starting places on Orange Grove Avenue. A crowd gathered behind a barricade to watch the Honda, Kiwanis and Trader Joe's floats drive by.
"Look at that one! Huge!" Pedar Remme, 53, said, pointing at the Trader Joe's float. "We should figure out where they go and follow them."
Remme and his wife Dawn, 44, made the seven-hour drive from Citrus Heights near Sacramento in a 30-foot RV they bought this year. They brought their mothers, ages 84 and 70; Remme's sister and brother-in-law; and the couple's two children.
"We keep trying to get the kids to come out here," Dawn Remme Said, "because we have always wanted to see this."
Instead, they stayed in the RV, watching Mr. Bean.
-- Laura J. Nelson in Pasadena
Photo: Fans settle in for a brisk night at Colorado Boulevard and Delacey Avenue. Credit: Laura J. Nelson / Los Angeles Times