For only the fourth time in 130 years, there will be no New Year’s Day procession of floral-laden floats, equestrian units, and marching bands along Colorado Boulevard Friday, with the Rose Parade falling victim to health protocols imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the parade sidelined, the Tournament of Roses will instead offer viewers a televised special, titled “The Rose Parade’s New Year Celebration,” featuring musical performances, celebrity appearances, a look back at past parade entries and a peek behind the scenes of how the floats are made.
The program will air on ABC, Hallmark Channel, KTLA, NBC and RFD-TV at 8 a.m. PST, and on Univision at 8 a.m.
Then at 1 p.m. the “Granddaddy of Them All” pits the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame against Alabama’s Crimson Tide in a Rose Bowl Game played outside Pasadena for only the second time in history.
The semifinal will be the eighth overall meeting between Alabama and Notre Dame (Notre Dame leads 5-2), and the first time the teams have met in a College Football Playoff Semifinal.
Although the New Year’s Day tradition was still months away when the Parade’s cancellation was announced in July, planning for the elaborate floral floats — and arranging for the often international travel of participating marching bands and equestrian groups — is a nearly yearlong process, necessitating an early decision on whether to hold the event.
The move by College Football Playoff of the Rose Bowl Game to Arlington, Texas came months less than two weeks ago after the state of California denied requests that a limited number of fans — primarily families of the athletes and team coaches — be allowed to attend due to COVID-19 protocols.
After both teams expressed some hesitation at participating, CFP decided to move the game out of California.
The City of Pasadena expressed disappointment over the loss of the game and the cancellation of the Parade.
“Every New Year’s Day, the world turns its eyes to Pasadena, when college football’s grandest stage, the Rose Bowl Game at the Rose Bowl Stadium, captivates millions around the world, as it has for almost a century,” it said in a statement this week.
“However, at this time, with the pandemic at a critical stage in our state, state guidelines remain in place and we will honor those guidelines developed by the state,” the statement continued.
“We are excited for the year ahead and our preparations for New Year’s Day 2022 have already begun.”
Today’s “Rose Parade’s New Year Celebration” TV special will include musical performances from Sheryl Crow, Mickey Guyton, Tori Kelly, Lady A, Rascal Flatts and The War and Treaty.
Additionally, celebrity guest appearances are on tap from longtime “voice of the Dodgers” Vin Scully, singer-songwriter, rapper, actor and record producer Daddy Yankee, actress Shanola Hampton, Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez, 2004 Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Matt Leinart, Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony winner Rita Moreno, actress Dascha Polanco, and past Rose Parade grand marshals Emeril Lagasse and Gary Sinise.
The special will also feature marching band performances, segments about the Rose Parade, Rose Bowl Game football highlights, equestrians, spectacular floats from years past, a behind-the-scenes look into the making of a float, and New Year’s wishes from fans around the world.
In order to limit travel and ensure the safety of our talent, these performance segments were filmed at iconic locations around the country; Grand Ole Opry and the Rose Bowl Stadium. To keep everyone safe, all new footage for the special was filmed using COVID safety protocols.
It’s only the fourth time since 1891 that the parade has been canceled, with the three previous cancellations occurring during the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.
Although the New Year’s Day tradition was still months away when the cancellation was announced, planning for the elaborate floral floats — and arranging for the often international travel of participating marching bands and equestrian groups — is a nearly yearlong process, necessitating an early decision on whether to hold the event.