There Will Not Be a Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in 2021

Float traveling down Colorado Boulevard during the 2011 Rose Parade. – File photo by Terry Miller / Beacon Media News

Planning for Rose Bowl Game and reimagined New Year celebration ongoing

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association has announce that — in accordance with the state’s reopening schedule, and after consideration of the restrictions and guidelines in place as a result of COVID-19 — it will be unable to host the 2021 Rose Parade.

“The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” said Bob Miller, 2021 president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.”

Since its inception in 1891, the Parade has been canceled only three times — the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.

While the parade itself is more than five months from now, the preparation for such a large event typically begins in February. “In addition to the advance planning required by our band and equestrian units, the construction of our floats takes many months and typically requires thousands of volunteers to gather in ways that aren’t in compliance with safety recommendations and won’t be safe in the coming months,” said David Eads, executive director/CEO. “While we are extremely disappointed that we are unable to host the parade, we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect the legacy of the Rose Parade for generations to come.”

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association also hosts the Rose Bowl Game each Jan. 1. The planning for this year’s Rose Bowl Game, which will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is still ongoing. “We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and our collegiate partners to explore what this year’s college football season will look like amidst COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. While the safety and well-being of the student athletes, university personnel and fans is our top priority, we remain hopeful that the Granddaddy of Them All will take place on New Year’s Day,” continued Eads.

“I know that I speak on behalf of our 935 volunteer members, and the hundreds of thousands in our community for which the Rose Parade is an annual tradition, when I say we will miss the joy of coming together and the making of memories,” said Miller. “But know that we will not miss this opportunity to celebrate a New Year and healthy new beginnings on Jan. 1, 2021.”

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek said the city will work with the Tournament of Roses on a reimagined New Year celebration, as well as the return of the Rose Parade in 2022.

In considering the options for the 2021 Rose Parade, the Tournament of Roses commissioned a feasibility and safety report for hosting the Rose Parade during the COVID-19 Pandemic, conducted by public health experts from the Keck School of Medicine of USC. That report showed that even with intensive effort to ensure compliance with public health measures such as 6-foot distancing and face masks, it is likely that Rose Parade activities before, during and after the event would inevitably lead to large numbers of individuals (many of whom represent high risk groups for COVID-19 complications, such as retirees over age 60) in close proximity to each other, potentially, in some cases, without masks. This creates a high-risk environment for viral spread, including super-spreader events. In addition, thousands of parade participants and spectators will travel to the Los Angeles region from across the nation and even the world, in many cases by plane. Such travel represents infection risk to the travelers, but also may lead to the importation of the virus to the area from other regions of the country and world as well as exportation of the virus to other regions of the nation and world when these spectators return home.

The Tournament of Roses has plans underway for a new kind of New Year celebration in 2021 for those across the country and around the world. “Each year, the country turns its eyes to Pasadena for America’s New Year celebration and we plan to deliver on that important promise,” said Eads. “We may not be able to host our traditional 5-mile march down Colorado Boulevard, but we are exploring new and safe ways we can collectively share in the celebration, and we look forward to announcing further details about our exciting new plans in the coming weeks.”

July 15, 2020

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