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New Rose Parade Team Considers “Different Levels of Entertainment,” Innovations for Future Parades

Hovering floats and more fireworks among new potential ideas being discussed to liven up yearly event

Published on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 | 5:55 am
Tournament of Roses new Chief Creative & Development Officer Amy Kule and Tournament of Roses Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer David Eads

[Updated]  Parade floats that actually float? Animation? Interaction?

While there is no danger of Pasadena’s annual Rose Parade turning into anything like Brazil’s Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, one of America’s most famous (and traditional) parades may see some new excitement in coming years.

Overviewing Pasadena’s best-known event, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Executive Director / Chief Executive Officer David Eads said Tuesday, “We have an incredible parade that we put down the street, but as we look at our opening and closing show, we’ll use a different level of entertainment. That is the goal.”

“You’ll see even better floats that maybe correlate better with the theme of the parade this year, or have more entertainment value,” he added.

“When you look at our bands, last year, the band from Japan was an extremely entertaining band for people to watch. We want to make sure that we’re recruiting and hosting the best bands that we can find in the parade. So it’s not dramatic change, but it will be subtle changes that I think our audiences will really want to see in the years to come.”

And floats that actually float?

“I’ve had one of my staff leaders say, “We have floats, how do we make them float?” Eads said. “So who knows what the future might bring? We might have floating floats at some time.”

With the goal of livening up the Rose Parade, Eads recently announced the formation of a new Rose Parade Development Office. Amy Kule, one of America’s most successful live event impresarios, has been appointed its new chief creative and development Officer.

Kule is the former executive director of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show.

Last year Kule launched Merry Wonderer, a strategic and creative consulting agency, and will lead the Tournament’s new development office and oversee broadcast partnerships, all parade participants, and advise on the overall entertainment and creative elements of the Rose Parade, while keeping her Merry Wonders position.

“As it is right now, it’s the most wonderful, beautiful, extravagant parade in the world,” said Kule.

“And,” Kule added, “I don’t just say in the country, I say in the world, because it is broadcast internationally, and rightfully so, everybody’s marvels at the absolute beauty of the floats that come down the parade route, handcrafted by our amazing float builders in small communities in and around Pasadena.”

Kule is equally excited about the idea of expanding the footprint of the Rose Parade over more than one day.

“That is something that I’m keenly interested in,” she said. “The parade is a one-day event, but in truth, it expands over multiple days and quite frankly, all year. This is a parade that gives back all year and we’ve got opportunities to make something big, bigger.”

It’s not that the Rose Parade hasn’t been open to new ideas, though.

Last year, Amazon Prime broadcast its creation, “Cord and Tish” (Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon as fake announcers), a parody that many people across the United States mistook for an actual parade commentary.

Asked about their impact and possible return, Eads said the Rose Parade is actually in discussions for their return.

“We are currently in discussions with (production company) Funny or Die about “Cord and Tish” broadcasting the 2019 Rose Parade. We would be excited to have them return and expect that they will be broadcasting the parade on New Year’s Day.” Eads said in an email.

“I think what’s most important,” concluded Eads, “is that we maintain that 130-year tradition of this floral parade, and build on that. Viewers have all type of opportunities in which to be entertained, and we want to make sure that on January 1st, they want to attend in person or tune in on television, or watch on their smartphone, the Rose Parade at 8 a.m. on January 1st.”

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