Rose Parade 2023: Thousands take part in the popular Tournament of Roses procession in Pasadena

PASADENA, — Flower-covered floats, marching bands and cavalry units celebrated the New Year on a chilly but dry Monday as the 134th Rose Parade slipped through a breach in California’s siege of soggy storms.

Pasadena’s annual flower extravaganza provided the upbeat theme of “Turning the Corner” for 2023, and former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who survived a shooting in 2011, served as grand marshal.

“The new year is a time of renewal, an opportunity for a fresh start,” Tournament of Roses President Amy Wainscott told television viewers.

The parade, traditionally held on January 2 when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, began with Los Angeles band Fitz and the Tantrums! Performance of “Let Yourself Free” and audience-friendly flyby by two US Air Force B-1B jets.

Rain has rarely fallen on the parade, but this year it was scarce. Downpours hit Southern California over the weekend — and Monday night rain returned during the Rose Bowl college football game between Utah and Penn State.

But earlier in the day, parade participants and thousands of spectators avoided soaking.

Giffords rolled down the 5.5-mile (8.8-mile) route in an antique convertible decorated with flowers, accompanied by her husband, US Democratic Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona.

Marching bands came from the US and around the world.

The Riverside County, California, Sheriff’s Mounted Unit was led by a riderless horse in honor of Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was killed Dec. 29 during a traffic stop.

The floats featured simple beauty—birds, bees, bears, beetles, and giraffes covered in flowers or other natural materials—as well as messages like a Cal Poly university entry titled “Road to Reclamation,” which featured animated snails and mushrooms shows living on a fallen branch.

The Louisiana Office of Tourism’s “Feed Your Soul” float, which depicts a paddlewheel river boat, was the stage for Lainey Wilson’s performance during the parade.

Donate Life’s bright orange and red Chinese street dragon, blowing smoke from its nostrils, was awarded the Lottery Trophy for Most Beautiful Entry by the Tournament of Roses judges.

“American Idol” finalist Grace Kinstler performed aboard a float to promote tourism in her home state of Illinois, and country music star Tanya Tucker sang her current single “Ready as I’ll Never Be” in the parade finale .

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Rose Parade 2023: Thousands take part in the popular Tournament of Roses procession in Pasadena

Laura Coffey

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