Sunday, January 2, 2011

My View of The 122nd Annual Rose Parade

Finally, dawn broke and the parade route started to light up
Once again I had the privilege of attending the Tournament of Roses Parade in beautiful Pasadena, California. This was the 122nd Annual Rose Parade, which is a really spectacular parade that showcases life in Southern California. My employer, Natural Balance Pet Foods had a float in the parade- our third year in a row in fact. Last year we made history with the World's Longest Parade Float. This year we broke another record with the World's Heaviest Float, but more on that later. Some people who attend the Rose Parade camp out along the route as much as 24 hours in advance to secure a prime spot. I was fortunate to have seats in the viewing stands from my company. I was also entertaining/hosting a number of customers with whom my company does business.

Parade organizers request attendees to be in their seats by 6:30 AM, mainly because of the sheer volume of people who turn up. We arrived by 6:00 AM- it was quite cold, 39 degrees Fahrenheit (4 Celsius) so it was rather chilly! We sat in the viewing stands, waiting for sunrise and observing the massive crowds settle into position along the route. I was seated at 90 S Orange Grove, which is the very beginning of the parade, just before it turn onto Colorado Boulevard.

I love the Rose Parade- the beautiful flowers that cover all the floats are a remarkable sight to see. I also love seeing marching bands and hearing their music too. When our float finally came into view, it was truly exciting. You see, working at Natural Balance is not just a regular job. We have FUN. We love animals and find ways to express that through our brand. Our Rose Parade float is a great example of that. Our float features the world famous Tillman and gang- who can all skateboard, snow board, and surf. This year they were skim boarding, while in another part of the float a group of Dock Diving Dogs were jumping into a heated pool and having a blast.
As the float approached, this is the front view!
Our co-founder actor Dick Van Patten once again rode on the float with his son Jimmy Van Patten. Together they cheered on Tillman, Rose, Lyle and Sully as parade viewers watched in amusement. Being a family company, the Van Pattens are involved and love being with the dogs on the float. The dock diving dogs wore body suits provided by Body Glove, who are experts in water sports gear. It was so much fun to see our float and to hear the audience's genuine appreciation and affection for these dogs.
This photo is from the LA Times of our Dock Diving Pool
Be sure to click on this photo below to biggify it!
Side view of our float. In the center is the massive pool, to the right is the skim boarding area!
Rear view of the Natural Balance float

The official certificate!

As I mentioned earlier, our float was certified by the Guinness World Records as the Heaviest parade float in history. Weighing in at 84,300 pounds, all the water in the heated pool (not to mention the 14 dogs) made for a record-breaking float! It was made by Fiesta Parade Floats, the best float makers in the business!

If you were not able to see the Rose Parade, the clips below had coverage of the Natural Balance float. First ABC:

And here is the clip from KTLA- our float is right around the 4:00 minute mark:
And here are a few other floats I saw that caught my eye for some reason or other:
Look closely on top of the coach- POODLES!

This guy was doing some fancy rope tricks on his horse!

My favorite: The Ronald Reagan Foundation Float!

Kaiser Permanente (health insurance) had a neat float

Namco, the makers of Pac Man video game!

Cunard Cruise Line- this one is for Bee!

Rose Bowl team University of Wisconsin

Rose Bowl team TCU, Texas Christian University

US Bank, I just liked this one for some reason.
Warner Bros Float- you can see Sponge Bob!
Here are some of the goodies from this year's Rose Parade. My company made commemorative bags, pins, hats, mugs and t-shirts for our guests (see photos left). We also made blankets but I gave mine to someone in the stands. 
The whole experience was a lot of fun, and I was so proud of my company's float. It felt great to see first hand how well the parade viewers responded with cheers of support and applause when the Natural Balance float glided by. Those dogs sure are a hit. I can't imagine how we will top this next year, but I'm sure we will find a way!


OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I watched the continuing rerun on Local Channel 5, having gotten very litte sleep--I had my New Years Party and I am EXHAUSTED...! THe Float from New Balance was Charming!!! But I did worry about the COLD and the dogs in Water, etc...Yes, I heard them say the water was heated....Well, I hope it really was...STILL...These dogs had to have been very very cold.

It is always good to see Dickie....
(I just got off the phone--a few minutes before reading your Post Rick---with Joyce VP. I hope you get to meet her, sometime!


C said...

I'm Canadian, but it's been a tradition for me to watch the Rose Bowl :)

Happy, happy New Year to you! Rick, I love, love, love your blog and am looking forward to yet another year of your posts :)


P.S. That's one impressive float! HEAVY!

© Karelian Blonde said...

Lovely pictures Mr Rockhill! Thank you for sharing and have fun planning next years float :)

I had my first cup of tea this year from the commemorative mug you gave me. I can tell you it was a lovely cuppa :)

Cheryl said...

I loved the video. What a fabulous float. How exciting for you to be there and see it go off just as planned. What a great year for you with your new job. May 2011 be just as wonderful if not better!

Jeni said...

I watched and watched and waited to see your company's float and was a bit disappointed in that the camera seemed to not show very much of the float. I did get to see a little bit of the dogs doing their thing -really neat to watch that -but still, just seemed to be a very short time within the camera lens for that float. Plus, they gave no specs on the float as it went by -like the info on the size and it being the heaviest, etc. One would have thought the announcers would have had that data to share, don't 'cha think? Overall though, I did enjoy the parade very much and even got the grandkids to "sit up and shut up" and watch the dogs on your float. It was long enough that it held their interest ok, just that I'd have liked to see a bit more of it is all!

kenju said...

I enjoyed seeing the pix, Rick. Thanks. The only thing I hate about working on NYD is missing the parade!

KathyA said...

I loved every minute of the parade -- even when the one float broke down and had to be towed!

Natural Balance's float was wonderful!! Dick and I decided it's time we make plans to see this marvelous parade in person. I bet tickets to the stands are impossible to get, aren't they?

To Dog With Love said...

Wow! The Natural Balance float was spectacular! Loved seeing the video.

Happy New Year and a wonderful 2011 to you!
Diane and Cosmo

WAT said...

How ironic, I was in Palm Springs for New Year's! HA!

HAPPY 2011

Sharon said...

The Natural Balance float was great and the dogs looked like they were having a ball. I loved how the crowds were cheering for them too! Loved the commentary about all the floats and the materials they were made of, such as the basket on the Native American float being made out of cinnamon sticks and some of the pictographs made with seeds, beans and spices. Very fascinating!

lime said...

wow, with all that water no wonder your float set a record for being so heavy! that's a lotta slosh! thanks for sharing with us though and wishing you all the best in 2011. :)


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