Thursday, December 31, 2015

Tournament of Roses

Tournament of Rose Association logo
It's been many moons since either of us has seen the Rose Parade in person—been-there-done-that when we were much younger and far more foolish! But I do love the spectacle of the parade and so get up early to watch it live on TV every year. No wonder then that I was thrilled when Tim's friend Art invited us to the big Tournament of Roses holiday party at the Wrigley Mansion, in Pasadena, a couple of weeks ago.

Mansion entrance
For the past 115 years, the parade has been managed by the Tournament of Roses Association, a volunteer-run organization that utilizes the talents of some 1000 people (including our friend Art) year-round to prepare for both the parade and Rose Bowl game. The Association's headquarters is located inside the Wrigley Mansion, an 18,500 square-foot Italian Renaissance-style home built 1905-1914 by chewing gum magnate William Wrigley. The mansion was donated to the city of Pasadena in 1958 with the understanding that it would house the Tournament of Roses. Once a year, the home is opened to the friends and family of Association volunteers to celebrate the holidays and the upcoming parade and Rose Bowl game.

 Front door decorated for Christmas 

We've driven by the house, located on Orange Grove Blvd., probably hundreds of times, but had never been inside. For a large mansion, it was remarkably cozy, especially with hundreds of other gawkers milling around! Art showed us the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame room upstairs and the room where the Rose queen and her princesses get ready for the parade.

 Rose Bowl Hall of Fame honorees

 Team helmets

The Royal Court's powder room
We then went downstairs—along with everyone else—for a buffet meal that included salads, sandwiches and an array of desserts. We lost Art in the crowd early on, but rejoined him before leaving the grounds. Among the special things we saw was an illustrated line-up of the 2016 floats—looks like it's going to be another excellent parade! I can hardly wait.

The buffet line

Flagpole from the 1960 Winter Olympics,
donated by Walt Disney, chair of pageantry

Front door plaque

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