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Rose Parade: Revelers don't let shivers shake tradition

January 1, 2011 |  4:21 am

Sometimes it takes a kid or two to reignite a Rose Parade tradition.

Ten years ago, before they had children, Robert and Julia Estrada used to drive from their home in Downey to Pasadena every New Year's Eve to stake out a front-row perch for the parade. They slept with a few blankets laid on the concrete and had "very little else to keep warm, but the cold never seemed to bother us," said Robert, 41.

Now they're back, with four children, a mountain of comforters and slightly less tolerance for the cold.

"We decided to come before it started freezing in Southern California," said Julia, 36, who sat in a folding chair on Fair Oaks Avenue and Colorado and cast an envious glance at her sidewalk neighbor's four high-powered heat lamps. "Heaters and fires used to be banned. We didn't realize that now they're OK to have."

Her youngest, 3-year-old Nathan, was barely visible beneath a twisted mount of fleece blankets. Covered in a black-and-blue checked hoodie, he peeked out to glance at "Toy Story 3" playing on a portable DVD player before yawning. "I'm gonna sleep now!" he announced.

Just south of Raymond Avenue a block away, 9-year-old Dylan and 6-year-old Kayla of Moorpark were likewise about to fall asleep.

"This is incredibly exciting for kids," their mom Sheila Karlowsky said. "It's the only time when we actually encourage them to vandalize property" by dousing passing cars with canned string  and marshmallows.

Karlowsky said her husband Chris, snoozing beside her, grew up visiting the Rose Parade as a kid and talked about it for years before they decided to restart the annual New Year's rite this year.

"In the beginning I was totally like, I'm not coming. You can if you want to, but I'm staying inside where it's warm," Karlowsky said. "Chris finally wore me down."

Karlowsky took a sip of coffee, one in a long string of caffeinated, hot beverages she's imbibed. "I heard you can smell the roses on the floats from the sidewalk," she said. "Is that pretty cool?"


Rose Parade moving at a crawl toward being green

Map: Path of the 2011 Rose Parade

Photos: Preparing for the big day

-- Shan Li