SAN DIEGO, January 1, 2013 – Excitement, elation and sheer joy were served up for thousands of thrilled fans watching in person and millions around the world at the 124th 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California.
The parade stepped off in brisk weather for Southern California, but the temperatures in the high 40s couldn’t begin to chill the many heartwarming moments during the two hour parade.
Among the 91 units including 40 floats and 21 bands, the highlight for many was the surprise reunion of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Eric Pazz with his wife Miriam and their young son Eric Pazz, Jr. in the midst of the parade on Colorado Boulevard. Miriam Pazz had been told she had won a contest to attend the parade, thinking she was going to have a chance to send a message back to her husband deployed in Afghanistan. She did not know Sgt. Pazz was riding aboard the Natural Balance Pet Foods “Canines in Courage” float, honoring military service dogs.
Longtime KTLA-TV Rose Parade host Bob Eubanks said it was the highlight of all the Rose Parades he had attended in nearly four decades, and the first time he became too emotional to continue his play-by-play. His longtime co-host Stephanie Edwards was just as emotional as she described the scene for viewers.
Following their touching reunion, the Pazz family got aboard the float to ride the rest of the parade route. Also on board the float were service members and their dogs, including Lucca, a German Shepherd/Belgian Malinois who lost a front paw saving her Marine handler in Afghanistan nine months ago. She is now retired.
The perfectly timed flyover of a B2 stealth bomber led the appearance of the float honoring Korean War Veterans. Aboard the float was one of the last two living Medal of Honor recipients from that war, Hiroshi Miyamura.
Gerald Sapienza and Nicole Angelillo of Chesapeake, Virginia, were married aboard “The Love Float” sponsored by Farmers Insurance near the end of the parade. They won a contest over three other couples with their video campaigning through the streets of their home town dressed as a bride and groom. Farmers provided the entire wedding. Six family members joined them aboard the float to witness their vows.
From its modest beginnings, the Rose Parade now draws a live audience along the parade route of one million people, plus 39 million Americans watching on television and hundreds of millions more watching in 220 countries around the world.
This year’s theme was “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.” The 2013 Grand Marshal was Dr. Jane Goodall, MBE, the world famous primatologist and animal advocate, who also had her own rescue dog walking alongside her carriage.
The floats, bands, horses and escorts travel five-and-a-half miles along the parade route. It takes months of planning and construction including several frenzied days applying the final decoration to put the magnificent floats together. All surfaces must be covered with natural materials. The average cost of a float can be several hundred thousand dollars, but the visibility, bragging rights and well earned goodwill for companies and organizations that enter can be priceless.
If you are in the Southern California area, you can experience the magic of the floats up close after the parade through Wednesday, January 2 parked along Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards in Pasadena. The Showcase of Floats lets you step up close to the floral displays and also enjoy the beautiful scent of the flowers. You can also download a two-hour audio tour of the floats from iTunes free. Don’t forget a camera. Check this link for all the details.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. Read more Media Migraine in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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