Charles Phoenix’s Slide of the Week: The Rose Queen and her Court, Pasadena, CA, 1956


Here in the kingdom of Southern Californialand we don’t have a king, but we do have a queen – the Rose Queen. Her reign is brief – just a year. The Queen and her court work their way up through the charm schools and debutant balls of the San Gabriel Valley. The highest call of duty for the bevy of beauties is waving very properly to their subjects and cradling a super-sized bouquet of red roses like a baby while being strapped on a flower covered barge vehicle riding toward the morning sun of the first day of the New Year. Palm trees and crystal clear blue sky provide the picture perfect backdrop.

Without a doubt the Rose Parade is the grandest and most detailed parade on the planet. It’s run with military precision by an army of men and woman dressed in red blazers over white shirts, pants and shoes. It’s oh-so civilized. The prized show horses, champion marching bands and, most importantly, the giant, rolling flower petal art procession have been a New Years Day tradition on Colorado Boulevard since 1890. If this is not American I don’t know what is!

If you’ve never been to the parade in person WHAT are you waiting for? It’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay more dazzling and fragrant in person and a zillion times better than it is on TV. You don’t have to get there the night before to get a great spot. The trick is to get a spot at the end of the route – Colorado and Sierra Madre. Get there about 8:30AM.

DIRECTIONS: From LA take the San Bernardino Fwy (10) exit at Atlantic Blvd. Go north to Huntington Drive, turn right, then left on Sierra Madre Blvd. PARK YOUR CAR just east of Sierra Madre Blvd, on a residential side street, four or five blocks South of Colorado Blvd. Then observe the legendary spectacle somewhere near the corner of Sierra Madre and Colorado Blvd, which is near the end of the parade route.

Afterwards you’ll be starving of course. For me and the gang it’s usually a hearty-heavy-fatty lunch at the North Woods Inn, nearby at the corner of Rosemead and Huntington Drive (7247 Rosemead Blvd, San Gabriel, 626-286-8284). Please don’t forget to marvel at the fake snow on the roof.

Here’s to the Rose Parade and a Happy New year to YOU!!!

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