PASADENA -- The Golden Valley High School marching band got their big opportunity New Year's Day as they marched five miles through Pasadena in the 2009 Tournament of Roses parade. Band parent Sandra Vierra said,
"I got goose bumps and my stomach was twirling right before they came. I was a mom in awe -- not only for my kid but for every kid out there." The Merced high school was the only Northern California high school band invited.
Also, a spiraling staircase with spangled dancers paying tribute to Broadway, a lush garden wedding flanked by sari-clad models representing India's Bollywood film industry and a giant movie monster symbolizing the venerable Saturday matinee were just some of the floats that enthralled thousands of spectators at the annual Rose Parade on New Year's Day.
With the parade's theme "Hats Off to Entertainment," many floats featured different aspects of the entertainment industry.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Merced Sun-Star
Parade-goers were wowed by a 49-foot robot named Asimo on a float sponsored by Honda Motor Co. when fireworks and streamers shot out of his hat. All the parade's floats featured thousands of roses and other flowers, seeds and organic materials.
"That was something," said Peggy Tesh, 82, who came to the parade with her family from North Carolina. Later, the robot snapped an overhead cable holding a street sign along the parade route, but no one was injured, said police spokeswoman Janet Pope Gibbons.
Temperatures started off in the low 50s early morning but heated up about 20 degrees during the parade, prompting 44 people to request medical help, double from last year, said Pasadena fire spokeswoman Lisa Derderian. Some were unconscious, with others suffering from dehydration and chest pains.
A number of marching band members were treated. Eighteen equestrian units and 22 marching bands from all over the country took part in the parade.
"They're wearing heavy uniforms, using heavy equipment. They may not be acclimated to the conditions here," she said.
An hour into the parade, the massive crowd tilted heads upward when the Air Force's B-2 Spirit stealth bomber flew overhead in honor of U.S. military stationed around the world. The bomber normally leads off the parade.
"It's pretty out of this world," said Ryan Throop of Pasadena of the fighter. "It's so quiet."