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

January 1, 2013 |  1:09 am

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

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