2010 Tournament of Roses Pre-Parade

by Parade Guy on December 31, 2009

My Pre-Parade Activities.

Here is what I was allowed to do.

I arrived on Christmas day, mostly because as a MOT, I really had no idea when Christmas was.  I remembered that last year, it was on the 24th.  I thought it was always on the 24th.  Apparently, I am an idiot.  So I showed up in LA on Christmas day and was warmly welcomed by my host family.  Here is rule number one for me when it comes to traveling to parades.  Always have friends or family to visit where ever you are going.  This keeps costs down and allows your to get some local flavor that  you probably wouldn’t get otherwise.  It also helps when you get lost to have someone to call.

It turns out that Saturday, the 26th was a Formation Committee Workday.  After saying Hi to everyone I remembered from the year before, I went right to work.  The committee was working on putting up No Parking Signs.  I literally jumped right in.  At one point, I jumped up onto a sign pole, much to the amazement of the other people that were my age watching.  I owe it all to Kelly Lubeck and her Yoga classes.  After the streets were double checked, I rode around with one of the Co-Chairs and we inspected the barricades that the City had put out.  We covered the entire Formation area, criss-crossing Pasadena in his Sponsor provided pick-up.  When we found a few shortages, I was able to make suggestions about where to pull extras from.  It felt great to be useful.

As it was planned that I would be roaming the entire Parade area, I asked about the getting proper credentials.  I learned that the Pasadena Police Department was responsible for issuing Photo ID’s that provided area access clearance.  This year was different than 2009 in that security was much tighter.  An area that encompassed the Television Zone was designated as the Secure Zone.  It didn’t matter who you knew, if you didn’t have the ID or a ticket for a section within the TV Zone, you did not make it past the security checkpoint.  Remember there are 935 Volunteers?  The ID’s were issued on a need to have access basis.  Not everyone was happy about being turned away, when they had been volunteering all year, and they just wanted to look.  There were four levels of security at each checkpoint.

On Tuesday, I went the Pasadena Police Department, which was in a beautiful old building, and got my picture taken.  After that, I went back to the La Canada Float building site.  Tuesday afternoon, I got a call inviting me to the “Streets” meeting early Wednesday morning.  The “Streets” meeting occurs monthly early in the year, then moves to bi-weekly, and finally to weekly in the six weeks before the Parade.  Every committee is represented and has an opportunity to report to the group which also includes the Executive Committee.  This is a very effective way to communicate in an open forum where questions are encouraged.  I was introduced as a Guest of the Formations committee, much to my surprise.  I also found out who was in charge of Credentials and had a nice talk with him.  He is a record producer that also has responsibility for communications systems for the Parade.  We talked about the synergy and the perceived lack of it between his professional life and his parade life.  I learned that one of the benefits of volunteering at the parade is being given the chance and responsibility to stretch your wings.

After the meeting, I headed down to the Rose Bowl to improve the local economy.  There were lots of vendors selling wearables.  As a guest, I was encouraged not to look like the official Volunteers, but to have something with the Tournament of Roses logo.  I found this really cool red fleece pullover that looked official.  It also was pretty warm, which made it a perfect addition to my overnight layered approach to couture.

The next appointment on my Tournament of Roses agenda was early on the morning of Thursday, the 31st.  Like really early at 8:00am.  OK, here is the really cool part.  There were ten brand new Honda (major $ponsor) Mule like vehicles.  I went through the certification process with the Honda Service technicians.  This allowed me to take one of the mules and zip around the route, checking on barricades and Do Not Cross tape around the floats.  I am not sure I really needed it, but it was a blast to drive.  The reason for the early work day for the Formation Commission was to accept 900 additional pylons to be used to secure the Floats.  I took my Mule up and down Orange Grove to make sure that there were enough pylons deployed at each of the parking spaces.  This year, the task took about two hours.  Last year, which I also was involved in, took until about 1:30 in the afternoon.  A little better planning, a better division of work and resources, and better coordination with the vendor all contributed to the reduction in time.  The leader of the sub-committee discussed how the aspects that improved the process needed to be captured.  This ranged from how the bid request for the pylons was written and evaluated to the number of committee members scheduled and the types of vehicles needed.  A lot of people were impressed about how quickly it went.  The main benefit of the reduced time was the fact that the committee members had more time to go home and rest up for the over night event.  I left the route about noon, knowing that I would soon be back.  One of the things that I had done was to negotiate the use of a flatbed golf cart for later in the night.  I did this when I returned my Honda Mule.

For some reason, I wasn’t able to nap successfully in the sun as I had planned.  The sun was out, but my mind refused to shut down.  Of course, there was a huge parade to be made in a few hours.

See ya’ on the route!

Parade Guy

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