PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 02: Rose Parade performers participate in the 123rd Annual Rose Parade on January 2, 2012 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
124 YEARS: One can find a lot of famous and stately events in our country, but there are only a handful of them that have happened in not one, not two, but three different centuries. The Tournament of Roses is among that stellar few, of course; it began in 1890, when Pasadena was one of the grandest enclaves in the country and nearby Los Angeles was still an up-and-coming city. Flower-covered carts pulled by horses were something for the parade at the end of the 19th century. Now, in the second decade of the 21st? Mega floats filled with moving parts and mechanics, famous people, royal courts, and brassy bands fill Colorado Boulevard. It's quite the historic spectacle, even with its modern razzmatazz, and it continues to attract hundreds of thousands of spectators. Curious about the date? You know it: New Year's Day, of course (unless that Jan. 1 falls on a Sunday, which it isn't set to do again for a few more years). Here are the haps surround the parade.
FLOAT VIEWING: This popular pre-parade event kicks off on Friday, Dec. 28 and goes right through New Year's Eve. See the floats coming together near the Rose Bowl. Details.
EQUESTFEST: The horsey happening of the Tournament of Roses. Get to know the mane'd beauties before the big parade, on Saturday, Dec. 29 at the LA Equestrian Center.
BANDFEST: Love the big brass of the parade? Hear two days of stirring music as uniform-clad musicians march at Pasadena City College. Saturday, Dec. 29 and Sunday, Dec. 30