On this bright, cold and sunny New Year’s Day, our Department proudly participated in the 126th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade in the City of Pasadena. Each New Year’s Day close to 80 million people around the globe focus on Pasadena, California, known as “Home of the Rose Parade.” With “Inspiring Stories” selected as the 2015 parade theme, the famed intersection of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards came alive at 8 a.m., as 40 floats, 20 bands and 18 equestrian groups were introduced to the over 700,000 spectators bundled up along the route to watch with amazement.
Visitors were greeted by family members of the 2015 Posthumous Rose Parade Grand Marshal Louis Zamperini, the Olympic athlete best remembered for his bravery and courage as a World War II prisoner of war. Rose Queen Madison Triplett and her court of six princesses, along with heroes, athletes, actors, children, and animals led the way. Well over 20 Bands from around the globe marched the five and a half mile route, while trophy winning floats decorated with flowers and natural materials cascaded the boulevard.
The 2015 equestrian units outfitted in eye-catching costumes and handcrafted tack remain a crowd favorite trotting in groups or pulling beautifully decorated carriages. One of those stunning units was led by none other than Fire Chief Daryl Osby aboard a Percheron-drawn 1907 American La France steam engine. Accompanying the Chief were 27 Los Angeles County firefighters, including those honored this year for acts of bravery and heroism on the job, our Honor Guard team and members of the Firefighters Emerald Society.
The Chief’s ride was built in Cincinnati, Ohio, at the old Ahrens Fire Engine Plant, and was originally placed into service in Portland, Oregon, as Engine 13. This second class steam engine produced 700-800 gallons of water per minute and was pulled by three horses. For the Rose Parade, the engine was beautifully decorated with a gorgeous array of fresh red, orange and pink roses draped from fresh holiday garland.