Rose Parade avoids California rain as it welcomes the New Year

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrian units celebrated the New Year on a cold but dry Monday as the 134th Rose Parade slipped through a gap in the siege of sweltering storms in California .

Pasadena’s annual flower show offered the upbeat theme of “Turn the Corner” for 2023, and former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who survived a shooting in 2011, served as grand marshal.

“The new year is a time of renewal, an opportunity for a fresh start,” Tournament of Roses chair Amy Wainscott told viewers.

The parade, which traditionally takes place on January 2 when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, kicked off with Los Angeles band Fitz and the Tantrums! performing “Let Yourself Free” and a crowd-pleasing flyover of two US Air Force B-1B jets.

The rain has rarely fallen on the parade, but this year it has come closer. Downpours hit Southern California over the weekend and the rain was expected to return Monday night, possibly affecting the Rose Bowl college football game between Utah and Penn State.

But in the meantime, thousands of onlookers and parade participants have avoided a soaking.

Giffords traveled the 5.5-mile (8.8-mile) route in an antique, flower-adorned convertible, accompanied by her husband, Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona.

Marching bands came from all over the United States and around the world.

The Riverside County, Calif., sheriff’s mounted unit was led by a riderless horse in honor of Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was killed during a traffic stop Dec. 29.

The floats offered simple beauty – birds, bees, bears, insects and giraffes covered in flowers or other natural materials – as well as messages such as the entrance to a Cal Poly university called “Road to Reclamation” depicting snails and animated mushrooms living on a fallen tree branch.

The Louisiana Tourist Board’s “Feed Your Soul” float depicting a paddle wheeler served as the stage for Lainey Wilson’s mid-parade performance.

Donate Life The bright orange and red Chinese street dragon blowing smoke from its nostrils was awarded the competition trophy for best entry by the Tournament of Roses judges.

‘American Idol’ finalist Grace Kinstler performed aboard a float promoting tourism in her home state of Illinois, and country music star Tanya Tucker sang her current single , “Ready as I’ll Never Be”, during the parade finale.


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