The Guide to the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena

98th Rose Queen Erika Winter and the Rose Princesses
The 2016 Royal Court: 98th Rose Queen Erika Winter (center) and the Rose Princesses. | Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses, Facebook

For more than a century, the Tournament of Roses in Pasadena has been a festival of flowers, music and sports celebrated by a parade and college football. But the Tournament is much more: it's America's New Year Celebration, a greeting to the world on the first day of the year, and a salute to the community spirit and love of pageantry. From the pre-bowl game feasting at Lawry’s Beef Bowl, to the spectacular Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day, the Tournament of Roses is a Southern California tradition that is unequaled anywhere in the world. Get tickets for any of the below events by visiting the Tournament of Roses official website.

Lawry's Beef Bowl (2015 TBA)

Lawry's Beef Bowl
Photo courtesy of Lawry's Beef Bowl, Facebook

Since its inception prior to the 1957 Rose Bowl Game, the Lawry’s Beef Bowl has become one of college football’s most enduring pre-bowl game traditions, one of the highlights of the week leading up to “The Granddaddy of Them All.” The Beef Bowl is a pair of private dinner events hosted annually by Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills, honoring the players and coaches of each Rose Bowl-bound team. Attendees include Tournament of Roses officials, the Rose Queen, Royal Court and media. For the first several years, Lawry’s catered the meal on the practice field for the Big Ten teams and fed the Pac-12 champions in the Beverly Hills restaurant. Since 1965, both teams have dined in the restaurant on separate evenings prior to the Rose Bowl Game.

Historically, odds favored the team that ate the most prime rib to win the Rose Bowl Game. The team record for most prime rib eaten in one Beef Bowl is held by the Purdue Boilermakers, with 734 pounds devoured in December 2000. The player record was set in 1978 by former Michigan Wolverine Ed Muransky, who consumed eight plates of prime rib, mashed potatoes, corn and Yorkshire pudding, totalling a belt-busting eight pounds of beef. Today, the Beef Bowl is no longer considered a competition and Lawry’s has stopped publicizing how much each team eats. Lawry’s limits the amount of prime rib it serves each player to a 16-ounce cut followed by a 12-ounce second helping.

Float Decorating (Dec. 27-31, 2015)

Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses, Facebook

Experience the magic of the floats before they make their debut in the 2016 Rose Parade. During the final stages of float decorating a variety of fruit, seeds, bark, grasses and of course, flowers being applied to the floats by experienced professionals as well as hard working volunteers. Community members and visitors are needed each year to decorate floats for the Rose Parade. Whether you’re participating as an organized group or an individual, float builders are happy to have the help. All volunteer decorating opportunities are organized directly by the float builders. For more information, schedules and advance tickets, visit the float decorating page at the Tournament of Roses website.

Equestfest (Dec. 29, 2015)

Equestfest at the Tournament of Roses
Equestfest | Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses, Facebook

Equestfest is a family-friendly event that showcases the 2016 Rose Parade equestrian units. Watch beautiful horses and talented riders perform drills and dances, and demonstrate trick riding and roping. Attendees can stroll through the stables, talk to riders, learn about the various tack and the many different breeds. Browse the vendor court and enjoy great music, food and drinks. Equestfest takes place on Tuesday, Dec. 29 at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank. Gates open at 10 a.m. and the two-hour show begins at “High Noon” in the Equidome, rain or shine. Advance tickets are available for $15 general admission (children 5 and under are free) or $40 for VIP reserved seating (includes souvenir seat cushion). Tickets may also be purchased at the venue beginning at 9:30 a.m. on the day of the event, pending availability. Parking is available at the venue for $10 per vehicle.

Bandfest (Dec. 29-30, 2015)

Bandfest at Tournament of Roses
Bandfest | Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses

Bandfest features the outstanding bands selected to participate in the 2016 Rose Parade. Each band, along with its auxiliary performers, will present the field show that has led to its success. Three Bandfest events will take place at Pasadena City College over two days: Bandfest I starts at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 29; Bandfest II is at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30; and Bandfest III is at 2 p.m. on Dec. 30. Advance tickets are available $15 (children 5 and under are free). Tickets may also be purchased at the venue beginning 30 minutes prior to the performance time, pending availability.

Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Dec. 30, 2015)

The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to honor members of the Rose Bowl Game family who have contributed to the history and excitement of the Rose Bowl Game. The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place at noon during a luncheon at the Pasadena Convention Center on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Mark Brunell, Fritz Pollard, Tyrone Wheatley and Jim Muldoon will be inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame as the Class of 2015. With the addition of this year’s class, the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame includes 117 inductees over its 26-year history. During the ceremony, the inductees will receive the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame trophy and blazer. In addition, inductees are memorialized on a permanent plaque with their names and year of induction at The Court of Champions at the Rose Bowl Stadium. The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Luncheon is open for public attendance. For more information on tickets, visit www.tournamentofroses.com.

127th ROSE PARADE (JAN. 1, 2016)

City of Los Angeles float in the 2014 Rose Parade
City of Los Angeles float in the 2014 Rose Parade | Photo courtesy of Prayitno, Discover L.A. Flickr group

The 127th Rose Parade is taking place on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016 at 8 a.m. (PST) featuring spectacular floral floats, marching bands from across the country, and high-stepping equestrian units. The theme for the 2016 Rose Parade is “Find Your Adventure,” the result of a unique partnership between the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the U.S. National Park Service. The 127th Rose Parade will help spotlight the centennial celebration of America’s national parks. Filmmaker Ken Burns, who has directed and produced some of the most acclaimed documentaries about the history of the United States, is the 2016 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal. During a career that spans nearly 40 years, Burns has been honored with countless awards, including 14 Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards and two Oscar nominations.

Tickets for reserved grandstand seating are on sale through Dec. 31, 2015. Curbside viewing is also available on a first-come, first-served basis. For detailed information on tickets, locations and schedules, visit tournamentofroses.com/events/roseparade.

Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats (Jan. 1-3, 2016)

Tournament of Roses Post Parade
Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses, Facebook

Post Parade: A Showcase of Floats is a unique opportunity for the public to see the majestic beauty and splendor of the Rose Parade floats in close detail. Following the parade, the floral and animated masterpieces are parked along Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards in Pasadena and exhibited for visitors to walk within a few feet and appreciate their design and workmanship. Viewing times are 1-4 p.m. on Jan. 1, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 2-3. Senior citizens and disabled visitors are welcome 7-9 a.m. on Jan. 2-3. Comfortable shoes are recommended - viewing all the floats requires walking about 2.5 miles and will take at least two hours. Advance tickets are $10. Tickets can also be purchased at the venue until 3 p.m. each day of the event. General admission is free for children 5 and under.

Rose Bowl Game Tailgate Parties (Jan. 1, 2016)

2013 Alumni Tailgate Party | Photo courtesy of Tournament of Roses (Rose Bowl Game), Facebook

Before the Rose Bowl Game kicks off at noon, the historic stadium is hosting two tailgate parties: Public and Alumni. The Public Tailgate activities are free and begin at 8 a.m. A variety of food and beverages are available for purchase. Enjoy the interactive displays and entertainment attractions located on Lot H, just south of Rose Bowl Stadium. The alumni associations of the two participating schools have designated areas for their official Alumni Tailgate Parties, which take place on the golf course at Brookside Golf Club, just north of the stadium. Contact the respective alumni associations for tickets and more details.

Rose Bowl Game (Jan. 1, 2016)

100th Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium
100th Rose Bowl Game at Rose Bowl Stadium | Photo courtesy of Rose Bowl Stadium, Facebook

The 102nd Rose Bowl Game will be held on Jan. 1, 2016 at the Rose Bowl Stadium. The game will feature the champion of the Pac-12 and Big Ten Conference. If the Conference champion is selected to participate in the College Football Playoff Semifinal, the Rose Bowl Game will select the next best team in the conference.

Known as the “The Granddaddy of Them All” for being the oldest bowl game, the Rose Bowl Game was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. Over the years, this college football classic has showcased 19 Heisman Trophy winners, produced 29 national champions, featured 208 consensus All-Americans, and honored 113 college football legends by inducting them into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame.

TRANSPORTATION

Metro Rail will operate its Red, Purple, Gold and Orange lines throughout the night of Dec. 31, 2015 and morning of Jan. 1, 2016. In addition to overnight service on those selected lines, Metro will run more trains and offer more frequent service on the Metro Gold Line to accommodate the large numbers of anticipated riders on Jan. 1. Beginning at 5 a.m. and continuing through 9 p.m., trains will run as frequently as every 7-8 minutes to and from Pasadena. Exit at the Memorial Park, Lake, Allen or Del Mar stations; all are located a short walk from the parade route. Metro will also provide regular bus service to areas near the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game and Post Parade areas. Buses will originate from locations throughout the county. For additional information on Metro transportation services, call the Metro information line at (800) COMMUTE (266.6883) or visit www.metro.net. The hearing impaired line is 800.252.9040.

Metrolink will provide special service on the San Bernardino and Antelope Valley Lines for individuals to enjoy the Rose Parade. Check www.metrolinktrains.com for schedule information or call 800.371.5465 for more information.