Thousands lined Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard Monday for the 123rd Rose Parade that included an Occupy protest, an Iraq war veteran grand marshal and local students who rode atop Glendale’s float.
Themed “Just Imagine,” the event attracted an estimated 900,000 visitors and featured 44 floats, 21 marching bands and 20 equestrian troupes marching down the 5½ mile route through the heart of the city. The parade was held the day after New Year’s to avoid disrupting Sunday church services.
A group called Occupy the Rose Parade stirred up the usually nonpolitical event with a demonstration that included an octopus float constructed from plastic bags, which was kept calm with the help of a “peacekeeping” team the activists formed. The group aimed to draw attention to income equality and corporate greed. The demonstration did not dent the enthusiasm of parade-goers, many of whom spent the night camped out on air mattresses and in sleeping bags to claim coveted positions.