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By Janet Moore

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For the last 18 years, I have been a White Suiter, which is what we—the volunteers with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association that puts on the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena, California— are called. Originally organized by the Hunt Valley Club to promote the climate and culture of the “Mediterranean of the West,” 2016 marks the 127th year of events. I have been fortunate to learn the operations of one of the country’s most treasured traditions from the inside out, and have learned a few things along the way.

 

1. The Parade is 100% Volunteer-Driven. Each year, the parade is orchestrated by 935 volunteer members, providing more than 80,000 hours of combined manpower each year, many of whom also work in the design and construction industries. To maximize the time and efforts of each and every volunteer, there are specific organizational guidelines across 31 different committees to maximize volunteers’ time. Each White Suiter spends two years on each committee and placement follows a prescribed trajectory to learn about the parade operations. For example, your first six years are divided among the Big Three Street Committees: Formation, which organizes floats coming in the night before the parade; Operations, which oversees the parade along its route on the day-of; and Post-Parade, which operates the “park” of all the floats for viewing the day-after.

 

2. The Committees are 100% Community Driven. To be a member of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Volunteer Committee, you must live or work in the city of Pasadena. Once you become a member, you can live anywhere, but the organization requires that all volunteers are part of the Pasadena community at the time of registration.

 

3. Volunteers Run 100% of the Weekend’s Events—Including some of the team-related events prior to The Rose Bowl Game. From organizing the order line-up the night before the parade to mechanical testing of each float’s chasse to organizing events for family and players in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual, the White Suiters have a hand in operating every single aspect of the events in Pasadena. This includes a day at Disneyland and/or ESPN Zone for visiting teams, as well as organizing and hosting events for team players, coaching staffs, and their families.

 

4.  Membership in the Parade Committee is a Long-Term Commitment. Regular membership is achieved after approximately 12 years of volunteering with the Parade. Prior to the 12-year-mark, volunteers are referred to as associate members.

 

5. You’ll Never See the Parade on a Sunday. In 1893, the organization instituted an agreement with the city of Pasadena never to host the parade and game on a Sunday. Since January 1 falls on a Sunday in 2017, the Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual will take place on Monday, January 2.

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