Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 01: Let's Have a Parade!

The Tournament of Roses Parade (also referred to as simply the Rose Parade) is a uniquely American New Year's Day event that features flower-covered floats, marching bands, equestrians, and a college football game. (Although if New Year's falls on a Sunday, it is held on January 2.) The annual parade was first held in 1890 in Pasadena, California and today is watched in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators (and many more on network television). Every year a Grand Marshal is chosen for the parade by the President of the Tournament.

On this day in 2000 Roy E. Disney (nephew of Walt Disney and son of Roy O. Disney) led the 111th Tournament of Roses as the Grand Marshal. This made him and Walt the first and only grand marshals in Tournament history who were from the same family (Walt served back in 1966).
Roy and his wife, along with Mickey Mouse (in his Fantasia outfit) and Donald Duck rode down the parade route in a decorated convertible.

A unique feature of that year's parade was a "human theme banner" made entirely of people. Presented by The Walt Disney Company, it featured 2000 colorfully costumed Southern California high school students creating a formation which spelled out - "Parade, Celebration 2000". The shape and color of the unit changed on musical cue to read "Fantasia 2000" (Disney's newest release at the time which opened in IMAX theaters on this same day).

"For my entire life, I've been associated with a company that makes dreams come true, and now I get to be on the receiving end. I think that every kid that grows up in Southern California dreams of being in the Rose Parade, and I certainly was no exception." -Roy E. Disney

Happy New Year!

Click HERE for more January 01 Disney history.

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