My brother is the bartender at a restaurant, and it has become our tradition that on New Year’s Eve I go there to ring in the new year, then when the restaurant closes (usually by 1:00), he and I go somewhere else for a drink until that place closes at the usual 2:00 AM for bars in California. Coccinelle, of course, was part of the celebration, outfitted with party clothes – a silvery ruffled “dress”, gold beads, and a party hat. Here she is, all ready to ring in 2013:
Because my brother knew some people who work at the place we went to after his restaurant closed, we were able to stay after closing and didn’t end up leaving until about 3 AM. And from there, after bundling ourselves against the cold (42 degrees), we drove to Pasadena to take a look at the Rose Parade floats lining up in the very early morning hours before the parade began. You walk past within just a few feet of them, some still having finishing touches applied, and can see the amazing detail and work that goes into their creation. We also saw people camping out along this pre-parade route, and were especially tickled by this group’s setup:
The floats are required to be decorated with only plant material, and flowers, seeds, fruits, vegetables, bark, grasses, and pretty much anything else that comes up out of the ground is put to wonderful use. Being so close you can easily see that, for example, the vibrant “trim” on a building is made of yellow bell peppers!
Because it’s still dark, giant work lights have been temporarily installed every few hundred feet or so, casting an uneven and unnatural lighting on the floats that you're not really aware of until you watch the parade on TV later in the day.
This man in next picture is Kirk, who was working for the Tournament of Roses (which produces the parade) for the first time this year, although he’d grown up around it all as his father had spent a couple of decades with them. Everyone working for the Tournament wears those spotlessly white suits and red ties; Kirk had on a helmet because his job as a troubleshooter had him tooling around on a motor scooter:
Now, you’re not supposed to touch the floats, but this particular one...
...was not only a perfect setting for Coccinelle, when I saw those spotted mushrooms I knew I had to try and take her picture with them. The woman who was watching over the float very nicely let me get in a quick shot:
All in all, a great way to start the new year!