Every year my town enters a float in the Rose Parade. We often win for best animation; it’s in the charter that our float must have animation, and because the Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA) is in town, and so many of those rocket scientists live here, we get some pretty amazing stuff. It’s all done by volunteers, none of this professional float-building company stuff. In another week or so the float frame will be parked in its usual spot under a freeway overpass about three blocks from my house. This is where it will be completed – and always open to the public to stop by, take pictures, help decorate, and buy souvenirs to support the float. Occasionally they put out a last minute call for some specific leaves or flowers, and so two years ago camellia leaves from my backyard plants were on the float.
On New Year’s Eve, generally around 9 - 10 p.m., hundreds of people gather to see the final float up close and wish it well on its way down to Pasadena to line up. Have to take surface streets, going maybe 4-5 mph, and have to be in place in the wee small hours of the morning. There’s very much a party atmosphere. I’ve never followed the float all the way down to Pasadena, but I’m willing to bet one of these years Eldest Son and his high school buddies will decide to do that.
Next, I have a friend who lives along the Parade route. Places on the median strip out in the center of the street are already being marked off by residents. New Year’s Eve is one BIG party along the parade route – last year my kids slept out there – and we figure this year it will be even more so because of Y2K. We’ll either head out there after seeing the float off, and spend the night, or else we’ll drop the kids off before the float takes off, and then return just before dawn. It takes the parade about an hour and a half from the starting point to pass in front of her place.
One big party, a great parade, and lots of fun. That’s what I’m planning for New Year’s this year!