Rose Parade returning? I’ll be in the front row – Daily News

Regis Philbin (grand marshal) joined by his wife Joy, riding in decorated vehicle at Rose Parade in 2002. (Photo by Walt Mancini, SCNG)

Along with the various other laments about the absence of the Tournament of Roses on New Year’s Day 2021 — No. 1 being, “They let Texas steal the Rose Bowl Game, damn it!” — I whined in, too, in these pages.

Larry Wilson

As the editor of the Pasadena Star-News for 12 years, December had long meant for me a massive organizational campaign with a big team of reporters, photographers, editors and designers to map out a coverage plan.

When that was in place, Jan. 1 was nothing like a vacation day. It started at dawn as I trekked down to the office, conveniently located on Colorado Boulevard, midway through the Rose Parade route, and ended near midnight, as we cleared the special section of the paper that we always ran the day after the Tournament of Roses.

But, secretly, I loved it. As I wrote last year, right after the parade was canceled out of concern for the global pandemic, of my fellow Pasadenans, who sometimes complain about the traffic, the crowds we deal with every January:  “Deep down, they wouldn’t give it up for the world. What else in slightly ahistorical Southern California — what else of consequence — has been going on in more or less the same manner since 1890? Nothing.”

So, yes, I whined about the absence. We missed the Tournament of Roses like nobody’s business.

Perhaps the starkest example of what that absence meant was made clear, as these things are usually best expressed, in a photograph that appeared in another Southern California newspaper.

Saying he had to be there, parade or no parade, Pasadena resident, Dereck Andrade, sits at the corner of Orange Grove Blvd. and Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena on Friday, January 1, 2021. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Jan. 2 of this year, that paper ran a picture of a lone Pasadena man sitting in a lawn chair he had set up at the intersection of Colorado and Orange Grove boulevards, where the parade makes its big turn from south-north to west-east. It’s a dramatic spot, usually, where the TV cameras are positioned, where the Tournament’s Official Reviewing Stand is, so the big animated floats and the bands and for all I know the equestrian units do their best to bust their buttons right there.

It’s also where things can go wrong, as everyone and everything has to negotiate a 90-degree turn, which they have been known to miss. Plus there’s a hill, and brakes have been known to fail, floats go careening into the crowd.

But Jan. 1, 2021, there were no grandstands, no TV cameras, no Rose Parade. There was just this one guy wearing a USC sweatshirt sitting in a lawn chair, imagining what might have been.

That other rag didn’t mention that the fellow in question was the former business editor of three of this news group’s papers, but, whatever. Great shot.

A couple walk past the Tournament House on Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena on Friday, January 1, 2021. (Photo by Dean Musgrove, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

This coming year, Saturday, Jan, 1, 2022, we’re back, God willing and the Omicron don’t rise.

I’ll walk over to Orange Grove and Colorado way too early in the morning after that night you stay up late, never knowing why they couldn’t kick off the parade at 10:01 instead of 8:01. But the TofR White Suiters have hit the downbeat at 8:01 since forever, and they’ll do it again. Only difference this time is that I will have flashed the vaccine passport in my phone; no biggie.

LeAnn Rimes will sing in a showy number right in front of that Official Viewing Stand, where I’ll be sitting front row, aisle, gabbing with White Suiter Mike Antonovich, the former Los Angeles County supervisor, handing out programs. The floats will roll by, every flower in Ecuador glued on. The bands. The Queen of Pasadena, and her Royal Court.

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