The 2012 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Tour -
We arrived in Pasadena for seven days of fun-filled activities, sight-seeing, and events, staying in downtown Burbank. With our hotel just blocks from the City of Burbank Float Barn, we were in a prime location, close to Pasadena, Hollywood studio lots, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica.
Partnering with a great float crew, we enjoyed the experience of seeing a float be put together from the ground up, making great contributions to its completion.
One of the float rules stipulates that all coverings of every float must be of natural substances. From seeds, to beans, to flowers, we worked side by side with the City of Burbank Float Committee on this incredible project.
The days were filled with activities and pre-parade events, while we took plenty of opportunities to see the sights around the area.
One enjoyable stop was the famous Griffith Observatory, perched atop the ridge of mountains that separate Hollywood and Beverly Hills from the Valley. Note the Hollywood sign in the background!
One of the great pre-Parade events is the Band-Fest. This is one of the best displays of marching bands on the planet, as top notch schools and teams from around the world come each year to strut their stuff...
After our Band-Fest experience, we headed over to the splendid Huntington for lunch and a stroll through one of America's best gardens and museum complexes.
With numerous sub-gardens on these sprawling grounds, we enjoyed seeing and learning about various types of plants. With Southern California's picture-perfect climate, the Huntington boasts an incredible variety of plants, trees, and flowers.
This place was truly a photographer and gardener's dream!
Another great event which we greatly enjoyed is the yearly Equest-Fest. Held at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center, this is an amazing display of talent and horsemanship as all of the participating teams showcased stunt riding, formations, and tricks for the delighted crowd.
The entire event culminated in a final pass and review by the 30 plus teams who had all come in for the parade. This was a wonderful day!
We even enjoyed an unforgettable food tasting tour around Old Town Pasadena, learning about its history and tasting food from Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Europe.
One stop included a bit of shopping and strolling around one of America's most famous and prestigious shopping districts.
Our day in Beverly Hills ended with a night in Santa Monica, enjoying the beautiful Southern California night as the sounds of the surf echoed from the nearby shore.
One of the delights of Santa Monica is the walking street that runs through the heart of downtown Santa Monica.
Finished with our efforts, here is my wonderful group, standing alongside the great Burbank crew in their white crew leader jumpsuits.
With the best seats in the house, we observed the nation's grandest parade from our reserved bleacher seats on Camera Row. It was AMAZING!
And what a grand finale it was to see the culmination of our work on display for all to see. While other spectators enjoyed the obvious, we knew far more about our float and the work that went into the others. We also knew everything about each horse team and band, having learned all about them in the pre-Parade events.
And indeed we did a great job! Our float won the Mayor's Trophy, awarded to the best float by a city, national or international.
As fans headed to the stadium, we enjoyed the buzz around downtown Pasadena. Many ladies had to be sure and show some LSU Tiger pride.
Our final day in Southern California included a studio lot tour of Warner Brothers.
Sights included massive sound stages where numerous sit-coms and other shows are filmed.
As a surprise treat, I rewarded my wonderful ladies with tickets to the live taping of the Tonight Show, completing our film industry experience.
Without the fluff and fuss of LAX, we took a five minute shuttle ride to Burbank airport and boarded our flight for home!