Thousands gathered under clear, blue skies Monday for Pasadena’s yearly spectacle of fantastical floral floats, high-stepping marching bands and colorful equestrian units.
Themed "Just Imagine," the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade was expected to attract more than 150,000 visitors this year. The parade is being held on Jan. 2 instead of the traditional Jan. 1 because the parade is not held on Sundays.
The event this year was punctuated by a demonstration: The group Occupy the Rose Parade carried signs drawing attention to their cause of income inequality, and dozens of protesters planned to march at the end of the parade with an Occupy Octopus "live" float constructed of plastic bags.
That prospect appeared not to dent the enthusiasm of thousands of parade-goers, many of whom spent the night camped out on air mattresses and in sleeping bags to claim coveted positions along the 5 1/2-mile parade route.
The 123rd annual Rose Parade featured 44 floats, 21 marching bands and 20 equestrian troupes marching the 5.5 mile route through the heart of Pasadena. The event draws participants and viewers from around the world, and several cities in the region are hives of activity in advance of the big day.