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Category: Rose Parade

Rose Parade 2013: Competition among overnight campers for best view

As two men donning USC jackets and hats surveyed the sidewalk looking for a place to set down their lawn chairs, Peter Soto eyed the competition.

"Those are the early ones, they're starting to move in now," said Soto, 46, of Los Angeles. "We try to hold our ground as long as we can."

Hours before the 124th annual Tournament of Roses parade was set to begin, a different kind of competition was already taking place; a battle between overnight campers like Soto and his friends and family, and the rest who descend on Pasadena as the city slowly awakes from its slumber.

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Bundled in an Alhambra High School hoodie and wearing Oakland Raiders gloves, Soto and his cousin began to make room on their 30-foot wide sidewalk encampment for another 40 friends and relatives en route.

"It's the kids who really want to do this," Soto said as his family peeked out from under their fleece blanket stretched across an air mattress on Colorado Boulevard.

The family outlined their territory with chairs and chalk marks. Within it, a propane-fueled space heater kept them warm and a gas stove set up when they arrived Monday at 8 a.m. kept them fed.

Photos: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

As the camps started to wake around them, Soto sat in a chair, eyeing the incoming crowds.

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Rose Parade: 'always an adventure with the family,' says camper

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Rose Parade 2013: 'Always an adventure with the family,' says camper

More photos: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

Near the beginning of the Rose Parade route, next to a 12-foot panorama of flowers and sculptures from the city of Torrance was another elaborate display, including a blue tarp, blankets, sleeping bags and 10 people ages 8 to 37.

"It's just a big family burrito, rolled up with a little of everything," said Juan Chavez of South Los Angeles, father and uncle to some of the bundled-up crew.

Campers traditionally cluster at the start of the parade, forming warm bundles near the intersection of Del Mar Boulevard and Orange Grove Avenue. Getting there early allows them a first look at the floats by the glow of street lamps and floodlights.

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But with just a few hours until the parade's start, the challenge for many becomes staying warm -- and awake.

The group has been camping out since 3 p.m. Monday, staking out a spot after a trip to Wal-Mart for extra blankets. It's the family's first time seeing the Rose Parade up close.

But after 12 hours of waiting in a nest of blankets and sleeping bags, all except one had fallen asleep.

PHOTOS: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

"I'm not going to sleep," said Chavez's sister in law, Arlene Aguirre, 37. "I'm going to drink a Coke."

But a few minutes later, Aguirre nodded off.

Meanwhile, Chavez stoked some coals in a small grill at 5 a.m. Tuesday, but barbecue was the furthest thing from his mind.

"Just trying to stay warm," Chavez said, hunching his shoulders in a dark hoodie. "My brain is half frozen."

The oldest and the youngest couldn't take the 30-degree temperatures, Chavez said. "They went back to the van."

But Chavez's sister-in-law, Claudia Aragon, 41, says it has all been worth it.

"It's always an adventure with the family," she said.

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Photo: Kevin Logan and his family settle in with heaters and blankets for overnight camping along the Rose Parade route. Credit:Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Rose Parade 2013: A roaring fire warms spirits on a chilly parade route

More photos: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

Just after 2 a.m. Tuesday, Colorado Boulevard saw a clash of two worlds: tipsy revelers spilling out of bars after last call, and freezing campers staked out for spots along the Rose Parade route.

Women in high heels but no jackets and men in gold top hats stared at a roaring fire nearly three feet tall that a group of campers in their late teens and early 20s had built on the sidewalk outside King's Row Gastropub.

"You guys look so cozy, OMG!" one woman said, reaching her hands toward the flames.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

Moments later, a man exiting Bar Celona stopped to shout several expletives about the fire -- most of them complimentary.

"I keep being about to fall asleep, but every time, someone yells something about our fire, and I'm awake again," Derek Smith, 22, said.

Smith and his family and friends sat in a circle of camping chairs around the fire. Friends took turns feeding the fire with paper fireplace logs. The smoke was so thick at one point that a firetruck pulled over and a firefighter asked the group to let the flames die down.

PHOTOS: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

Smith and his friend Saul Gonzales, 22, said they felt a little silly for being so sensitive to the cold after knowing the harshness of Midwestern winters. The men are both Mormon and Southern California natives who met on a two-year mission in St. Louis. But still they shivered in the 40-degree weather Monday night.

"Hey, bro! Nice fire!" an older man shouted as he walked past.

Smith laughed.

"This is pretty much the best people-watching," Gonzalez said.

Los Angeles sheriff's deputies and the Pasadena Police Department confirmed one arrest near the parade route, of a man who had been kicked out of a nearby bar, but could not comment on how many other arrests had been made Monday night.

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 -- Laura J. Nelson in Pasadena. Twitter: @laura_nelson.

Photo: Campers sleep along the Rose Parade route. Credit: Christina House / Los Angeles Times

Rose Parade: Horns, kisses and silly string as parade fans greet 2013

More photos: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

As 2013 ticked closer, throngs of people along the Rose Parade route began to count down: "Four! Three! Two! One! Happy new year!"

Cars covered in silly string honked. Air horns blared. Couples kissed.

The crowd of thousands had braved bitter winds and temperatures in the high 30s to camp out along Colorado Boulevard, spreading out sleeping bags, gymnastics mats and fleece blankets on the sidewalk and in the gutters to claim their spots along the Rose Parade route.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

Teenagers took pictures of themselves on touch-screen phones. Two giggling boys launched tortillas covered in shaving cream at passing cars.

One couple ducked into the doorway of The Melting Pot restaurant to take a screenshot of a cellphone, only to see they'd missed it; the clock read 12:02.

Police drove up and down Colorado, keeping the crowds behind painted blue lines on the street. Officials expect between 700,000 and 1 million visitors at the parade, which begins at 8 a.m.

PHOTOS: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

Monique Castellanos, 43 of Highland Park and her sister Lioba Reyes, 46 of Pasadena, clustered at the intersection of Delacey Avenue and Colorado Boulevard. With a whoop when the clock struck 12, Castellanos threw her arms into the air and readjusted her pointed green party hat.

"We've been coming since we were little girls," Castellanos said. "It's our new year's tradition."

Across the street, Ashley Ruffalo, 37, sat cross-legged on Delacey Avenue.  She wore a green hoodie and no festive apparel. She had been waiting for 13 hours.

Her son Braden Forrest, 17, plays the trombone in the Lincoln Marching Patriots, a 248-person marching band from Sioux Falls, S.D.

The Lincoln Marching Patriots have blue and black uniforms. They practiced for the 2.5-mile Rose Parade route by circling their high school for 3-1/2 hours every Saturday. Sometimes, band members shoveled snow off the football field so they could practice.

Ruffalo wasn't going to miss it. She and her family arrived at 11 a.m., which was already too late to snag a prime spot along Colorado. She waited on a side street for 11 p.m., when the police would close off the side streets and let them gather at the blue line -- front-row seats.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

"The best moment of the day was rushing forward to that line," Ruffalo said, referring to the painted stripe on Colorado that the crowd must stay behind. "We were like, 'Yess! Finally!'"

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Photo: A camper on the parade route bundles up. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Rose Parade fans stake out prime spots on a chilly night

More photos: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

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.

PHOTOS: Getting ready for the 124th Rose Parade

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.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

Behind them, on the sidewalks along Colorado, a growing crowd of Rose Parade fans staked out prime spots along the parade route.

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.

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Occupy to pop up again at 2013 Rose Parade

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The Occupy movement will be making a repeat appearance at the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade, organizers and police said Monday.

A 15-foot-high float, with the "Monopoly" banker riding a red wagon, will wheel its way down the 5.5-mile route at the conclusion of the parade, organizers said. The banker will have strings attached to participants who are on the verge of losing their homes or have lost their homes in a foreclosure.

“It symbolizes the grip the banks have on individual homeowners,” said Carlos Marroquin, an organizer with Occupy Fights Foreclosures. “We’re protesting the foreclosure practices that continue to hurt millions of families.”

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Rose Parade

Occupy Fights Foreclosures, a subcommittee of Occupy L.A., is hoping to capture the attention of the thousands of national and international viewers, Marroquin said, and highlight what they call “illegal bank practices.”

Organizers expect at least 200 people to march alongside their float “Occupy Our Homes, It’s Not All Roses for the Banksters' Victims.” Participants are meeting at 6 a.m. at Singer Park before making their way to the parade route. Occupy groups from the region, including Irvine, Riverside and Pasadena, are expected to attend.

Continue reading »

Officials' Rose Parade advice: Don't bring a tent, wear a jacket

Photo:  A young boy gets some shut eye along Colorado Blvd. proir to the start of the 123nd Rose Parade in Pasadena January 1, 2012. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Days before a procession of colorful floats begins rolling through downtown Pasadena, Rose Parade officials have issued some advice for the thousands of spectators expected to crowd the 5.5-mile route on Tuesday.

For starters, don't bring tents, sofas or boxes that can be used as seats or stools, all of which are banned. And don't bring fireworks or start a bonfire. Also, officials warned against flinging any projectiles onto the parade route, pointing out tortillas, marshmallows or flowers as examples.

They offered some other guidelines: Overnight camping is permitted only on Monday night, before the parade; the only way to hold onto that prime spot is to stand vigil, which you can begin doing at 12 p.m. Monday, and no public areas -- sidewalks, curbs, gutters, streets -- can be cordoned off; and children younger than 18 must be accompanied by an adult on the route between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Those camping overnight, especially children and seniors, should dress in thick layers to guard against the cold. Pets, officials said, are not recommended, if the animal is frightened by sudden, loud noises.

And spectators who bring a small grill must make sure it is at least a foot off the ground and must be kept 25 feet away from buildings and other combustible items. Be sure to have a fire extinguisher and water on hand.

In case of emergency, officials said to call (626) 744-4241 from a cellphone or 911 from a landline, and be prepared to give a location.

The 124th Rose Parade -- this year's theme: "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" -- begins at 8 a.m. Tuesday at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard, continues over two hours at a 2.5-mph pace onto Colorado Boulevard for the longest stretch and ends at Sierra Madre Boulevard and Villa Street.

The weather is expected to be partly cloudy and chilly, with a low of 43 degrees the night before the parade, according to a National Weather Service forecast. But that's expected to give way to sunny skies and a high of 60 degrees Tuesday.

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Photo: A young boy waiting with his family for last year's 123nd Rose Parade sleeps on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena. Credit: Arkasha Stevenson / Los Angeles Times

Virginia couple to be married on Rose Parade float

As if getting married before your closest friends and family wasn’t nerve-racking enough, a Virginia couple will tie the knot in front of millions of viewers at the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena.

Gerald Sapienza and Nicole Angelillo beat out three other couples vying to get married aboard Farmers Insurance’s “The Love Float” on New Year's Day in a national online contest.

The duo paraded through Chesapeake, Va., dressed as a bride and groom, to rally for votes in the Farmers Insurance Dream Wedding Contest.

Despite growing up in the same neighborhood, the couple didn't date until 10 years after high school graduation when they connected through an online dating site. They’ve been dating since 2006.

Sapienza proposed to Angelillo during one of her business trips to New Orleans, and celebrated that night by riding on a Mardi Gras float.

The ceremony, expected to take place at 9:34 a.m. as the float drives down the 5 1/2-mile parade route, will be officiated by radio personality Sean Valentine.

Angelillo and Sapienza will be joined by six family members on the float. In addition to the flight to Pasadena, they also won a wedding dress, a tuxedo and wedding rings, as well as other freebies.

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Rose Parade forecast: Cold, but clear

Cool and breezy conditions are expected to give way to another rainstorm later this week, but forecasters say it should be mostly clear and brisk by New Year's Day and the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

Gusty northwest winds were expected for some areas through Thursday morning with most of the region experiencing fair weather Thursday and Friday, said experts with the National Weather Service in Oxnard.

Many areas will experience 15- to 25-mph winds, they said, and the Antelope Valley and the mountains should see west to northwest winds of up to 45 mph.

A winter weather advisory was issued for Thursday until 10 a.m., with blustery snow showers expected on north-facing mountain slopes in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Snow levels had also dropped to around 3,000 feet, according to the National Weather Service, which also warned of icy conditions on the 5 Freeway near the Grapevine.

As the weekend approaches, another low-pressure system may bring more unsettled weather, including a 40% chance of rain for the Glendale-Pasadena region on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

Clouds should start to clear out Sunday in time for the Rose Parade on Tuesday, with lingering clouds and breezy conditions keeping daytime temperatures in the upper 50s.

And those planning to camp out overnight along the parade route should bundle up. The overnight lows on New Year's Eve are expected to be in the low 40s.

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Volunteers can still help with Glendale Rose Parade float

Glendale Rose Parade float
Thousands of roses, gerberas and irises have yet to go on Glendale's Tournament of Roses Parade float, but for several weeks, hundreds of volunteers have been carefully applying dry materials such as spices, seeds and bark on the 35-foot-long craft.

The flowers won't go on until a few days before the annual parade in Pasadena, but before then there's still much to do, said Councilman Dave Weaver, who also organizes the float's decoration.

"There's a whole kit and caboodle that will have to go on," he said, adding that hundreds of students — from Glendale to Alhambra — have helped on the project so far.

Glendale's floats have had a tough run in recent years. Last year, the city didn't have enough money to pay the discounted $89,000 tab, and threatened to pull the float if private donors didn't pick up the slack. But after a $25,000 challenge grant from Rick Caruso, Americana at Brand developer, the money flowed in.

This year, Caruso and Glendale Adventist Medical Center put up most of the money for the roughly $100,000 float, which features the Americana at Brand trolley, the Alex Theatre and Glendale Adventist workers. In addition, film reels symbolizing Glendale's animation industry, which includes heavyweights such as Disney and DreamWorks. The float's theme is "Living the Good Life."

Several students selected by the city and the Americana at Brand are set to ride the float on New Year's Day. Councilman Ara Najarian had suggested the city invite Kim Kardashian to ride the float, but changed his mind after he discovered the reality TV star was set to appear at a Las Vegas nightclub on New Year's Eve.

Kardashian caused a stir this year when she mentioned on her sister's TV show, "Khloe and Lamar," that she wanted to run for mayor of Glendale in five years because it was "Armenian town."

Volunteers can still help decorate the float. For more information, visit glendalerosefloat2013.ivolunteer.com.

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Photo: The city of Glendale float is coming along with the help of volunteers at Phoenix Decorating Co. in Pasadena on Saturday. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News

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