COVID-19 forces the cancellation of 2021 Rose Parade

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade is an annual revelry of float pageantry and a festive environment that draws thousands of people to the scenic city of Pasadena. Millions more watched the jubilee parade around the world. That’s not going to happen Jan. 1, 2121. That’s because the raging COVID-19 pandemic has forced those who run the yearly event to mark a first in that it would scrub plans for the parade to come to fruition.

In a statement released on its website, explaining the cancellation, the tournament association said that it takes nearly a year to plan the logistics of the parade.

Dr. Seuss…Photo Credit: Ronald Jenkins

“With reluctance and tremendous disappointment, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announces that, in accordance with Governor Newsom’s Phase IV re-opening schedule, and after thoughtful consideration of the restrictions and guidelines in place as a result of COVID-19, we are unable to host the 2021 Rose Parade.

“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, 2021 President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses 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.”

The parade was first put on in1891, and has failed to not proceed only a couple of years, and was during the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.

Toiurnament of Roses Royal Court
That moment: Louise Deser Siskel (center) reacts to be named the 101st Tournament of Roses Rose Queen. Photo by Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline

“In addition to the advance planning required by our band and equestrian units, the construction of our floats takes many months and typically requires thousands of volunteers to gather in ways that aren’t in compliance with safety recommendations and won’t be safe in the coming months,” said David Eads, executive director/CEO. “While we are extremely disappointed that we are unable to host the parade, we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect the legacy of the Rose Parade for generations to come.”

Besides the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Rose Parade, the coronavirus has stopped or delayed high-profile public events such as the 2020 Summer Olympics (continued to 2021). The NBA has had to stop and restart its season. Major League Baseball has reduced its regular season by 102 games, and other sports and entertainment venues (Staples Center, theatrical productions) have been heavily affected as well.

Could the Rose Bowl Game be next? That has not been decided yet. The 2021 Rose Bowl Game had been scheduled to serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal.

2020 Rose Bowl Game
January 1, 2020 © Dennis J. Freeman/News4usonline – Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (10) hands the ball off to running back to Thomas Graham Jr (4) during the Ducks’ 28-27 win against Wisconsin during the Rose Bowl Game.

“We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and our collegiate partners to explore what this year’s college football season will look like amidst COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. While the safety and well-being of the student-athletes, university personnel, and fans is our top priority, we remain hopeful that the Granddaddy of Them All will take place on New Year’s Day,” Eads said.

The good news, if there is any for those who had been looking forward to attending the parade, is that the city and tournament association are exploring alternate ways to have some sort of New Year’s Day celebration for the public.

“Each year, the country turns its eyes to Pasadena for America’s New Year celebration and we plan to deliver on that important promise,” said Eads. “We may not be able to host our traditional five-mile march down Colorado Boulevard, but we are exploring new and safe ways we can collectively share in the celebration, and we look forward to announcing further details about our exciting new plans in the coming weeks.”

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