Mental Floss

The Quick 10: The Tournament of Roses Parade

Stacy Conradt
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This may make me a total dork, but my favorite part about New Year's Day is getting up and watching the Rose Parade in my pajamas. I'm really not interested in the Rose Bowl itself at all "“ in fact, I think I'm swearing off football in 2010 following my painful Fantasy Football loss to Jason Plautz this week. If you'll be getting up to watch the Petal Parade, here are a few fun facts you can use to impress whomever you're watching it with.

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4. The floats can get quite complicated. Past engineering feats have included small working roller coasters, a car transforming into a spaceship, and a working water slide.

PEANUTS
PEANUTS /
SOPHIABUSH
SOPHIABUSH /

7. Speaking of Queens, today's reigning royalty have it a lot easier than gals did back in the day "“ the first couple of girls elected Queen not only had to sew their own dresses for the big event, they also had to make their own floats!

8. When New Year's Day falls on a Sunday, you're going to have to wait until January 2nd to see the parade. Why? Well, back when the "floats" were really carriages festooned with flowers, officials refused to hold the parade on Sundays because the noise spooked the horses people used to get to church. Not many people are tethering horses outside of church these days, but it's tradition.

9. The Tournament of Roses Parade was originally named The Battle of the Flowers. It changed early on when the founder of the event decided he liked the ring of "Tournament" more.

10. Marching bands are chosen two years in advance "“ so although it's the 2010 Rose Parade in a couple of days, the groups that will be going in 2011 are already looking forward to it. The selection process is done that early so bands have time to raise funds to get themselves to California.

Has anyone ever been to the Rose Parade, either as a spectator or a participant? Share your experience in the comments, and I'll think of you Friday morning while I'm drinking my latte on the couch.

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