The first Tournament of Roses was staged in 1890 by members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club. These club members were former residents of the East and Midwest eager to showcase Pasadena as the place where the “flowers were blooming” on New Year’s Day. They wanted to tell the world about “their new paradise.” More than 2000 people came out on that day to view a parade of flower-covered carriages, foot races, polo matches and tugs-of-war. The abundance of flowers prompted the name “Tournament of Roses.”
During the next few years, the festival expanded to include marching bands and motorized floats, ostrich races and bronco busting. In 1895, the Tournament of Roses Association was formed to take charge of the festival, which had grown too large for the Hunt Club.
Today, most floats are built by professional float companies and take almost a year to design and construct. An estimated 350 million television viewers in more than 80 countries around the world join nearly one million curbside spectators for the Rose Parade. The Tournament is a festival of flowers, music and sports unequaled anywhere in the world. It is “America’s New Year Celebration,” a greeting to the world and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry that have thrived in Pasadena for more than a century.
For historical photos of the Tournament please visit www.tournamentofroses.com