My History: I was in the Pasadena Rose Parade

Rose Parade Logo

Now, this is a piece of my history that I really enjoy remembering.  And no, I was not the Rose Queen or a Rose Princess.

As I’ve already covered, I went to a private school where I was basically the only mexican in attendance (click the link for more on that history).

One day, my parents told me that I had been chosen to ride the Rotary International Float in the 1988 Rose Parade. I was 12 years old.

Apparently, the principal of the school was in close business relations with the President of the Pasadena Rotary International Club and the Rotary needed ethnic children to ride their float for the Rose Parade that year. The float was owl themed and titled “Look Whoooo’s Talking”.  I was to ride the float with an African-American boy and little Asian girl who were also chosen from my school. We were all to be wearing ethnic outfits. I was wearing a colorful and flaring Baile Folklorico outfit. It looked a bit like the picture below:


On the morning of the parade, (well, I will call it morning but it was more like the middle of the night), we were up at about 3:00 a.m. We had to be at the float site on Colorado Blvd and Orange Grove early to be ready for the 8:00 a.m. start of the parade.

Just before we left, my parents presented me with a small miniature crystal owl that looked something like this:


A small Crystal Owl at about 1 1/2 inches

The theme was appropriate as there were 3 big owls on the float I was riding. I think they were really proud of me 🙂

I only remember bits and pieces. I do remember getting there, and the young adults who worked on creating the float, were there with us announcing that this was the best float and they devoted their blood sweat and tears to it. It gave us all a giggle.

I remember it being FREEZING cold and I was pretty much in a sleeveless dancing outfit. I was cold.

Just before the line of floats were about to move, I was strapped into the float harness then waved to my parents goodbye and we started to move.

I remember there were two bands, one in front of us and one behind. The one in front of us was the normal instrument band. But the one behind us was a singing/marching band. They had no instruments but they sang the whole parade route. I still remember the chorus of that song:

Tear them down

One by one

all the walls that divide us

We won’t stop until our work is done

And love and peace unite us

They also had hand movements that went with the words. I can also remember and do them perfectly. My family gets a kick out of the fact that I remember the song and the hand movements. Well, I was travelling in front of them for the better part of 4 hours.

I remember bits and pieces from the ride all the way down the parade route.  First thing I saw, was my parents in the grand stands. I saw them stand up real tall with other members of my family and jump up and down so I could see them. I waved but the float was moving quickly, so I moved on down the route.

I remember a teen-aged boy jumping up from the crowd and grabbing one of the roses just below me as the float was DSCF0050moving by.  Each and every rose on the Float were put in small glass vials filled with a little bit of water (I don’t know if they still do this) so when he pulled the rose, he got a small glass vial with it.  So apparently, after some photo research, they do still put each and every rose in a small vial filled with a little bit of water, but I don’t know whether its glass not or plastic.

I remember before getting on the float, the coordinator, or one of them, told us to smile a lot and wave to the crowd. So that is what I did for the next 4 hours. The whole parade route was a lot of smiling and waving.


I actually don’t remember anything more than that. I don’t remember after, or if my parents were there waiting for me as my float arrived to its final destination (although knowing my mother, I’m sure they were).

A few years ago, these memories rose up in me again and I thought “the Rotary MUST have a photo of my float”. I inquired with them and apparently they didn’t but my inquiry got the ball rolling. Within a month, whoever I initially emailed had a photo up at the archive website. This was it:


Enlarge to see better. It was 1988, photos were not the best. I added arrows to show where I was

This float also won the Princess Trophy for that year. “Princesses’ Trophy for most beautiful entry under 35 feet in length”

I know that my father recorded it on the VCR at home and there is a video cassette of it somewhere in my parents house. Someday I may get that on a DVD then transfer it to YouTube.

Until then, it is all recorded in the VCR of my mind.  I will boast and say that is one of my more proudful moments. I was very young when it happened and kind of got the chance by defualt being one of the few Mexican children in the school. But still, it was a colorful memory.


4 thoughts on “My History: I was in the Pasadena Rose Parade

  1. Pingback: As the Walrus would say “The time has come…” | A Mommy in the Moonlight

  2. Pingback: My History: I was a Homecoming Court Princess | Is the Coffee ready yet?!

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