Take a Bus Trip to Pasadena Tournament of Roses & Rose Bowl
By Michael Masone November 20, 2017
Choose sides, pile into the bus, and don’t forget the roses, because the best way to welcome in 2018 is by heading to Pasadena, California for the bowl of bowls – The Rose Bowl. Or, maybe you’re just coming for the parade, which is what the Tournament of Roses is really all about.
Nicknamed “The Granddaddy of Them All”, the Rose Bowl is the oldest bowl in the nation – thus the galaxy. First played in 1902, it became the highest attended college football bowl game in 1945 and has never let go of the title to date.
All that said, the football game is a technically a sideshow for the extraordinary Rose Parade. The long weekend is the quintessential event for chartering a bus in order to beat the traffic, beat the parking, beat drinking and driving laws, and beat the opposition’s morale to a pulp with a ten-yard vehicle plastered with team spirit.
Blossoming History With Deep Roots
The Tournament of Roses was originally tied together with ribbons and bows by Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club to promote the city’s charm and balmy weather, just as the grueling reality of winter on the east coast was becoming too much for many to bear.
“In New York, people are buried in snow,” announced Professor Charles F. Holder at a Club meeting. “Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let’s hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise.”
New Englanders, and everyone else suffering the winter, were beckoned to the “Mediterranean of the West” to watch sporting events such as chariot races, jousting, foot races, polo, and tug-of-war – though no football at the inaugural event in 1890.
Yes, the first official American football game was played between Rutgers and Princeton nearly 21 years before the Valley Hunt Club put their plan into action. However, the rules for the game were still rapidly changing. Only 11 years before the Tournament of Roses did the University of Michigan became the first school west of Pennsylvania to establish a college football team.
Nonetheless, football was coming to the Tournament of Roses and was coming in a big way.
But first – there were flowers. While snow kept even the most daring of spring flowers at bay in the east, there was an abundance of fresh flowers in California. To showcase this particular Pasadena pleasantry, a parade, with carriages bedazzled by hundreds of blooms, was added to the event.
Five years after launching the Tournament of Roses, the event had grown too large for the Valley Hunt Club to manage. So, they formed the Tournament of Roses Association.
Flowers on Display: Rose Parade
Don’t tell the die-hard football fans, but the Rose Bowl was added in 1902 primarily to help fund the costs of staging the five-and-a-half mile parade. And the parade’s extravagance has only grown over the years.
In 2007, hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the parade route, which starts at the corner of Green Street and Orange Grove Boulevard, as 44 floats, 19 equestrian units with approximately 400 horses, and 22 marching bands pounded the pavement.
This year promises to be just as dazzling.
This rain or shine parade pushed through 45 mph winds and five inches of rain in 2006 – so pack your rain gear, because you don’t want to miss anything once you’re in Pasadena.
Reservations for grandstand seating can be made up until December 31 through Sharp Seating Company at (626) 795-4171. Roadside standing room along the route runs on a first-come, first-serve basis.
According to the parade rules, at noon on Sunday, January 1, you can take up your position along the parade route, as overnight camping is permitted. The rules also read: “Use common sense; celebrate responsibly and always designate a driver!”
Of course, if you’ve chartered a bus for the event, this isn’t going to be a problem!
Many roads in town are sealed the day before the parade, so it’s best to coordinate with your bus driver and make sure he or she has a clear idea of how to get you in and out of the event.
No Wilting Flowers Post-Parade
Once the parade is finished, spectators have a chance to come within feet of the floral masterpieces parked along Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards. The post-parade event, which costs 15 dollars, will be open to the public January 1 and 2.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable walking shoes, and don’t bring your dog – no pets or bikes are allowed.
Those wanting to snap up their tickets early can buy them at Sharp Seating Company at (626) 795-4171.
The Granddaddy of Them All
The College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl happens on January 1, the day before the parade festivities.
The Rose Bowl Stadium Parking Lots Open at 4am, though the stadium gates won’t open until 11:30am. Then, at 1pm on the dot, the Rose Bowl pre-game activities will commence.
Though original tagged as the East vs West of college football, the University of Michigan Wolverines so heavily pummeled Stanford University that in 1902 the west left the field for good.
In 1946, the Tournament of Roses Association, the Big Ten Conference, and the Pac-12 Conference put together what remains as the oldest intercollegiate postseason bowl agreement between two major conferences in the United States.
So, does this mean you’ll be taking a seat to watch the best of the Big Ten take on the Pac-12?
Not necessarily. In 2015, the Rose Bowl began hosting one of the College Football Playoff games every three years. This year is one of those lucky years! FYI: the years the Rose Bowl isn’t playing host, it reverts back to a Big Ten, Pac-12 battle ground.
For safety reasons, some bags are allowed in the stadium, while others – such as backpacks and purses – must be left on the bus.
Get to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl and the Rose Parade
If you’re driving your own vehicle to the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, it’s possible to purchase reserved parking places through Sharp Seating Company, (626) 795-4171; City of Pasadena, (626) 744-6470; LAZ Parking, (626-578-1705); Easy Parking Service, (626) 286-7576; and Colorado Boulevard Parking, (858-692-0868 or 949-295-6537).
Through the night of December 31 and into the morning of January 1, the Metro will operate its Red, Purple, Gold, and Orange lines. Additionally, Metrolink will provide special services on the San Bernardino and Antelope Valley Lines.
However, if you don’t want to deal with the crowds, the traffic, or the parking, you can let your chartered bus driver run those plays, while you focus on your end zone touchdown dance.
Bring Your Bus Party to the Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses (the Rose Bowl)
If your team makes it to the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl this season, there’s no better way to celebrate than gathering loyal friends, family members, and classmates together, then heading to Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses.
Welcome 2018 on a flamboyantly decorated party bus that will only be outshined by the floral marvels, marching bands, and equestrian units on display at the parade the day after the big game.
Even if your team doesn’t make it – the Tournament of Roses is not to be missed!