Arts & Entertainment

The Grand Doo Daddy of Them All: 42nd Doo Dah Parade Sunday

Doo Dah Bass player, Dave Issac, will be performing with two other bands at Doo Dah Sunday – Photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

By Terry Miller & Phil Space

If ever there was a time in history when we need to take a much needed break from reality, it is now!

Talk about “understatement.”

Every Tom, Dick, and Harry and Henrietta loves a parade, right? Well, this time of year we have two exceptionally large gatherings vying for your attention, both occurring right in Pasadena. One garners a lot of somewhat reserved attention via pomp and circumstance; another reaps international rewards and accolades as just about anything goes and inevitably does. It has been doing so since 1978.

But just what is a Doo Dah? In a word, it’s all about laughter — which, as we all know, is the very essence of life itself. Humor, is something we all need P.D.Q. (pretty darn quick), prescribed for our collective (in) sanity.
Pasadena is a city of traditions, perhaps the most well-known being New Year’s Tournament of Roses. However, if Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday the Rose Parade is always held the following day, following years-long tradition of “never on a Sunday.” Peter Apanel, unquestionably the original Czar of the Doo Dah, along with other Chromo’s aficionados who gave birth to the Doo Dah at the former Pasadena speakeasy posed the question: “What if we had our own parade?”

Apanel wrote, “Whatever we did it would have to be just the opposite of what the Rose Parade does. They have a theme so we would have no theme. They have judging and prizes, so we would have no judging and no prizes. Since none of us would be allowed in the Rose Parade, we would allow everyone in our parade.” They called it Doo Dah, and the rest is hilarious history.

In Pasadena, this distinctive, exceptionally silly congregation around Thanksgiving is Doo Dah. It has been referred to by some as the “Twisted Sister” of the other parade but that hardly begins to describe the remarkable “Tournament of Noses” — which some have coined the Doo Dah Parade after the beloved late Snotty Scotty (star of stage, screen and The Hankies since Doo Dah time began).

It’s actually one of the world’s most eccentric, albeit eclectic, parades of modern times. The Doo Dah parade is, to some extent, perplexing to describe to one who has never experienced the ridiculousness that permeates Colorado Boulevard in East Pasadena each year.

Simply put, you have to see it to believe it. No animals are harmed, there is a flying baby, rock bands galore and a Girl Scout with a rather mean moustache; colorful, daring and exotic costumes pose for the ever-present cameras and throngs of media moguls.

While not necessarily a direct nor obvious parody of Pasadena’s Rose Parade, Doo Dah’s colorful, controversial and preposterous characters convene and cavort along a brief stretch of East Colorado Boulevard to the delight of millions of Doo Doers each year.

No doubt, this year’s Doo Dah will go down in history and be decreed the “Grand Doo Daddy of them all.”

Put Light Bringer Project’s Patty Hurly and Tom Coston together with some of the most creative and intellectual minds and then you’ve got this year’s alternative to the ho hum holidays.

With the impeachment hearings, Supreme Court DACA hearings, outrageous White House tweets and the seemingly never-ending school shootings, we are inundated with powerful news and images that drive the world to near madness.

The antidote, thankfully, is right here this Sunday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. when just about anything happens, and usually does. Find more information at

November 21, 2019

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Terry Miller

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