Louis Zamperini float
Louis Zamperini float by the city of Torrance 2015. Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses parade

Police officers armed with AR-15 rifles were ready for anything at the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena today, but they reported only about a dozen arrests, mostly for drunk and disorderly conduct.

“Preliminary reports suggest we’ve arrested less than 14 people, both during New Year’s Eve and during the parade on New Year’s Day,” Pasadena Police Department Chief Phillip L. Sanchez told City News Service.

Although most of the arrests were for suspicion of people being drunk and disorderly, one arrest was made for suspicion of felony drunken driving following a collision, Sanchez added.

Prior to the event, Pasadena officials promised “increased visible and non-visible enhanced security measures” along the 5 1/2-mile parade route.

“Recent events at home and abroad have put added attention on the safety efforts at the annual Rose Parade and Rose Bowl game,” said Pasadena Assistant City Manager Steve Mermell, referring to mass shootings in Paris and San Bernardino.

“However, each and every year, the city of Pasadena, working closely with its partners the Tournament of Roses and federal, state and local law enforcement undertake significant efforts to ensure public safety.”

There were “no known credible threats” to Pasadena or the parade, Pasadena Police Department Chief Phillip L. Sanchez said on Wednesday. Still, Sanchez told KCAL9 his department’s Rapid Response Teams would be armed with AR- 15 rifles.

“That’s something new for the parade, but we feel it’s the prudent thing to do given Paris, San Bernardino, Mali,” Sanchez said.

The parade’s theme was “Know Your Adventure,” and the grand marshal was Emmy- and Grammy-winning documentary filmmaker Ken Burns. Burns was chosen in part because of his 2009 Public Broadcasting Service series, “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” which won outstanding nonfiction series and outstanding writing for nonfiction programming Emmys.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses and National Park Service formed an alliance in honor of the National Park Service’s centennial in 2016, which prompted the parade’s theme.

The theme was a nod to “Find Your Park,” a two-year campaign in which the National Parks Service and National Parks Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, aim to increase awareness of and excitement about the National Park Service’s centennial celebration.

The parade consisted of 44 floats, 19 equestrian groups and 19 marching bands. Sierra Madre, La Canada-Flintridge, Downey and Burbank were among municipalities winning float trophies. The big prizes went to Farmers Insurance group, Dole and the Disneyland Resort.

The floats included the first from an NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers. Its title, “Every Second is an Adventure,” represented the importance of each moment in basketball, capturing the excitement of last-second shots and dramatic finishes, according to John Black, the team’s vice president of public relations. The NBA’s all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played for the Lakers from 1975-89, and Paula Abdul, who was a member and choreographer of the Laker Girls dance team, rode on the float, which included fireworks, streamers, 16 stars representing the team’s championships, and the Lakers’ retired jerseys.

The Lakers float featured more than 20,000 Florigene Moonlite carnations and Kerio roses, matching the team’s purple and gold colors, along with Calypso mokara orchids, cattleya orchids, blue vanda orchids, oncidium orchids, forsythia, gerbera daisies, Asiatic lilies and button chrysanthemums.

Additionally, the parade again included a float representing the ABC dating series “The Bachelor.” It depicted a romantic fantasy adventure date on an exotic tropical island. Ben Higgins, the bachelor on the series’ 20th cycle, which begins Monday, was among the stars on that float, which also featured a working hot tub filled with women.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti rode on the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board’s float.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Long Beach Mounted Police and National Park Service were among the parade’s equestrian groups.

The marching bands included the Los Angeles Unified School District ‘s All District High School Honor Band; Pasadena City College’s Tournament of Roses Honor Band & Herald Trumpets; Japan’s Toho High School Green Band; and the Aguilas Doradas Marching Band from Centro Escolar Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon in Puebla, Mexico.

The parade route began at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard, headed north on Orange Grove Boulevard and turned east onto Colorado Boulevard, where the majority of the parade viewing took place.

Near the end of the route, the parade turned north onto Sierra Madre Boulevard and concluded at Villa Street.

The floats can be viewed along Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, with last entry at 4 p.m.

Flintridge Preparatory School senior Erika Karen Winter was the 2016 Rose Queen. The members of her Royal Court were:

  • Bryce Marie Bakewell, Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy
  • Donaly Elizabeth Marquez, Blair High School
  • Natalie Breanne Hernandez-Barber, Alverno High School
  • Rachelle Chacal Renee Liu, San Marino High School
  • Regina Marche Pullens, Maranatha High School
  • Sarah Sumiko Shaklan, La Canada High School

Members of the court are chosen based on criteria such as public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement and community involvement.

—City News Service

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