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

January 1, 2013 |  4:15 am

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