Rose Parade Avoids California Rain as It Welcomes New Year

Rose Parade Avoids California Rain as It Welcomes New Year
The University of Utah Marching Band marches at the 134th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2, 2023. (Michael Owen Baker/AP Photo)

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

Pasadena’s annual floral spectacle offered the optimistic theme of “Turning the Corner” for 2023, and former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who survived a 2011 shooting, served as grand marshal.

“The New Year is a time for renewal, an opportunity for a fresh start,” Tournament of Roses President Amy Wainscott told the television audience.

The parade, which by tradition is held on Jan. 2 when New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, kicked off with the Los Angeles band Fitz and the Tantrums! performing “Let Yourself Free” and a crowd-pleasing flyby of two U.S. Air Force B-1B jets.

Rain has rarely fallen on the parade, but this year it came close. Downpours pounded Southern California over the weekend and rain was expected to return by Monday evening, possibly affecting the Rose Bowl college football game between Utah and Penn State.

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

Rose Parade 1
The Donate Life float, winner of the Sweepstakes Award, rolls down Colorado Boulevard at the 134th Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., on Jan. 2, 2023. (Michael Owen Baker/AP Photo)

Giffords rolled down the 5.5-mile (8.8-mile) route in a flower-decked antique convertible, accompanied by her husband, Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly of Arizona.

Marching bands came from across the U.S. and around the world.

A riderless horse led the Riverside County, California, sheriff’s mounted unit in honor of Deputy Isaiah Cordero, 32, who was slain during a traffic stop on Dec. 29.

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

The Louisiana Office of Tourism’s “Feed Your Soul” float depicting a paddlewheel riverboat was the stage for a mid-parade performance by Lainey Wilson.

Donate Life’s bright orange and red Chinese street dragon blowing smoke out its nostrils was awarded the sweepstakes trophy for most beautiful entry by the Tournament of Roses judges.

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

ntd newsletter icon
Sign up for NTD Daily
What you need to know, summarized in one email.
Stay informed with accurate news you can trust.
By registering for the newsletter, you agree to the Privacy Policy.