Because of September's terrorist attacks, there will be added security this year for the historic Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena, California. But parade-goers and local officials say the century-old event, that traditionally precedes the annual Rose Bowl football game, will be held as usual and inaugurate the New Year with colorful parade floats.
More than 1,000 police officers will line the parade route, as marching bands and equestrian teams accompany 53 flower-covered displays. Tens of thousands of spectators will watch the parade, and some, like Fritz Mensing, will help with security as volunteer observers. He says everyone is asked to be alert to possible problems. "The last thing you want to worry about with your family here at the parade is that there could be terrorist activity, so I think everybody needs to do their part and take that extra step and make sure that we're all safe," he says.
Many families stake out their places along the parade route several days beforehand, bringing sleeping bags, sandwiches and thermoses for coffee. Robert Anich, who camped out with his family, approves of the added security. "I feel a lot better knowing that things are being monitored. Hopefully, it will be a deterrent."
The Tournament of Roses Parade is televised throughout the United States and in many other countries. Parade officials expect a worldwide audience of 350 million. But for Los Angeles resident Don Griffiths, nothing can replace being here in person to see the colorful displays. "For me, I mean, this is just a great event and something we do every year. Nothing's going to overshadow that."
The theme of this year's parade is "Good Times" to come.
One Pasadena tradition will change this year, however. The Rose Bowl college football game usually follows the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. This year, the game has been designated the national championship match and the two competing teams, the Miami Hurricanes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, will face each other Thursday.