The famed Rose Parade in Pasadena held each New Year’s Day has been canceled for 2021, with organizers the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association saying Wednesday that restrictions in California’s now-paused phased reopening because of the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to host the event, which would have been its 132nd edition.
It will mark only the fourth time the parade along the famed five-mile stretch of Colorado Boulevard will not take place since its inception in 1891 — World War II put a halt to it in 1942, 1943 and 1945.
The association also hosts college football’s Rose Bowl Game each January 1. Planning for this year’s game, scheduled to be a semifinal in the College Football Playoff, remains ongoing.
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“The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” said Bob Miller, president of the association. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.”
David Eads, the organization’s executive director and CEO, said they are working with sponsors and broadcast partners on an alternative way to celebrate, saying details will come later. The parade is broadcast on several networks nationally including ABC, NBC, Univision and Hallmark Channel, its longtime home KTLA-TV in Los Angeles, and around the world.
Preparation for the parade usually begins in February as it takes months to construct the iconic floats, which required thousands of volunteers working closely. With the COVID-19 levels rising in the state and especially in Los Angeles County (which encompasses Pasadena, Los Angeles and Long Beach), those workers would “gather in ways that aren’t in compliance with safety recommendations and won’t be safe in the coming months,” said Eads.
The Tournament of Roses said it commissioned a feasibility and safety report for potentially hosting the parade during the pandemic, conducted by the Keck School of Medicine of USC. It found that the close proximity of thousands of parade-goers and participants, many traveling to the region, could create a potential super-spreader event.
“We all know what the Rose Parade means to us here in Pasadena, as well as to New Year celebrations around the world. To know that we won’t get to experience this great tradition on January 1, 2021, is extremely disappointing. However, we also know that we must act responsibly to protect our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said. “We look forward to working with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses on their reimagined New Year celebration, as well as the return of the Rose Parade on January 1, 2022.”
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