Coming “full circle”: Growing up with the Rose Parade and now, Foothill Flowers in GV

We enjoy watching the Tournament of Roses Parade every year — sometimes with a mimosa in hand and a roaring fire in the fireplace, and other years, getting out of bed barely in time for the Parade’s start at 8 a.m.

The Parade has a special meaning because I was born in Pasadena (at the Huntington Memorial Hospital on 3/15/59), the city where it is held. I grew up in neighboring San Marino until I was a “tween.” Shannon also grew up in the L.A. area, so the Parade has longtime memories for both of us.

Members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club first staged the Rose Parade in 1890. Since then, it has been held in Pasadena every New Year’s Day, except when January 1 falls on a Sunday. (In that case, it is held on the subsequent Monday, January 2).

Our family has enjoyed going to the Rose Parade a few times over the years, even though it involves getting up before the crack of dawn, in winter, to find a parking spot and find a decent spot for viewing. In some instances, we caved and sprung for seats in the grandstands, complete with paid parking. It was a more “civil” experience.

A favorite childhood memory was seeing the community volunteers helping to build the floats before the parade, in nondescript buildings scattered throughout the city, as well as viewing them in the Tournament of Roses park after the parade. Pasadena also is home to Cal Tech, which is within walking distance of the parade route and is a longtime parade supporter.

When we moved to Nevada City over a decade ago, it was like coming full circle. We soon learned that Todd Johnson, whose family owns Foothill Flowers in Grass Valley, regularly traveled to Pasadena to work on the floats. We are regulars at Foothill Flowers and love Todd and his family. (Foothill Flowers reminds us of our favorite florist in Pasadena, Jacob Maarse).

This year, Todd worked on two floats, according to his Facebook page The “Dig Alert” and AIDS Foundation “Hope for the Homeless” parade floats (see below).

Todd Johnson working on Rose Parade floats this year. (Credit: Todd’s Facebook page)

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

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