CENTERPIECE EVENT: There are many multi-day festivals and to-dos in this world, and all, usually, come with a centerpiece event. Oh, it can be the big performance on the final night, or an art show, but it is the crown of the whole shebang. Without a doubt, the Rose Parade and Bowl are the centerpieces of the Tournament of Roses, but they are by no means the only things happening around the passing of the old year and welcoming of the new. Here are a few extra go-outs you may want to take in if you're headed for Pasadena on Monday, Jan. 2 (the date of the 2012 parade and bowl).
FLOAT DECORATING: See the massive machinery get covered with literally thousands upon thousands of flowers, pods, seeds, and such. The volunteers are patient and the colors spectacular. There are three locations, you'll want to arrive early, and the dates are Dec. 29-Jan. 1.
BANDFEST: Shiny tubas all tuba-ing in a row? Get a sneak peek at the bands before they march down Colorado Boulevard. This one is for the music lovers, but we like the crisp and spangled uniforms, too. Dec. 30 and 31
EQUESTFEST: Horsey happiness in the Crown City is the rule of the day on Dec. 30. Get to know all the pretty maned participants of the Rose Parade before their big Jan. 2 show. Demos and exhibits are part of the fun, too.
A SHOWCASE OF FLOATS: A lot of people wait for the parade to be over to get to their very favorite part. Yep, we're talking about the up-close float walk-around. The floats' jobs are done so now everyone can relax and just enjoy the splendor. Catch 'em after the parade on Monday, Jan. 2.