2010 Tournament of Roses Parade

by Parade Guy on January 1, 2010

Parade Time

One of the benefits of hanging No Parking Signs is knowing exactly where they weren’t.  I was able to hide my 2009 Pontiac Solstice only a block from the Tournament headquarters.  I had a great parking spot!  Last year, I parked in some lot that needed a shuttle ride to and from the route.

By 4:30pm, it was time to make a parade.  I was able to help be checking the streets where the No Parking Signs were and gathering requests for Tow Trucks.  There was a brief meeting to provide the latest security policies and plans for the check points.  It was important to get everyone on the same page.  By 6:00pm, I was riding shotgun with one of the Co-Chairs making sure people were they belonged and helping guide traffic by moving the barricades into place.  It went pretty smoothly as a result of a lot of planning.  Like any event, they had to deal with people being late or not showing up.  It felt good to contribute by making suggestions about how to move people and resources around.

At 8:00pm, all of the streets for the Parade were now closed to the public and the first floats were showing up.  In addition to minivans, pick-up trucks, and Mules, Honda donates a swarm of scooters.  Formation and Operation Committee members, after being Certified, take their Scooters all over the place to clear the way of pedestrian traffic, provide an honor guard to the floats, and provide me with an amazing amount of bemusement.  The floats first came into their parking spaces.  Imagine a mile of the world’s most intricate and beautiful self-propelled covered with all natural elements floats.  It is kind of overwhelmingly amazing.  There are giant light trucks spaced along Orange Grove, turning night into day.  I spent an hour riding with the Orange Grove Coordinator in her Mule tallying the progress of the floats.  It was hard work, but someone had to do it.

Midnight, some two hours early, it was BUNCHING time.  After making the Parade, seeing all the floats come in, this is my favorite part of the event.  Bunching is when the floats move from the assigned parking spots on either side of Orange Grove into their pre-launch positions.  Some of the trips are very short near the front of the line.  The last floats have the farthest to go.  This is where getting that flatbed golf cart made all the difference in the world.  I went and got it, put my helmet on, and headed to the streets.  Crusin’ in style.

After a float has completed its bunching, someone needs to move the pylons from around the first parking spot to the new, bunched spot.  That’s crazy talk.  I was able to go to the far end of the route, pick up thirty or forty now unused pylons, and move them up the route to wear they were needed.  Having done this last year, I knew it was coming and important.  Which worked out really well.  Plus I had my own golf cart, which is a sign of import and status.

After the pylons were in place and all the floats were protected from the thousands of people walking up and down the street at 2:00am, it was time for breakfast.  Breakfast for the volunteer committee members is catered.  This is very important.  Because after nine hours of working and another nine hours to go, its important to have a good breakfast.  Its also important to take care of volunteers.

After breakfast, me, my All Access credential, my helmet, and my golf cart were put into service providing transportation to people that needed to be somewhere other than at breakfast.  We cruised all over.  Down to the private club where everyone had stored their White suits, up to the Television zone to check on nothing important.  I did get to watch the opening band rehearsing.  At 3:45am.

For me, the activity between 4:00am and 6:00am was pretty minimal.  I was still cruising around, taking care of very little things.  While I was out and about, I was amazed at all of the people who had camped out along the Formation area.  There were bonfires, space heaters, air mattresses, and a lot of people having a great time.

At around 6:30, my fun began.  I unofficially stated helping move elements up to the Television zone.  If you see one of my parades, there is a person running around, up and down the staging area, trying very nicely to get elements to move.  Frantically, or calmly, it depends on how things are going.  One thing of note this year was the Antique Car carrying the Mayor (read Specialty Unit) was missing.  For a long time.  No one was sure where they were, but there were a lot of people looking.  When they did appear, we had to clear a path to get them into the right place.

I am reminded of one of the most important lessons of staging.  A Bag Pipe band will move when they are good and ready and not before.

Fortunately for me, there were no Pipe Bands that I had to deal with.

Every element was at the entrance to the Television zone with proper spacing and pacing instructions on time and in order.  The work I had done was noticed, and in a very good way.

I had a great time.  This is what I call making a parade and the 2010 Tournament of Roses Parade was a great parade to be a part of.

See ya’ on the route!

Parade Guy

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