Ever since coming here from Mexico City in 1994, I’ve been to every single Rose Parade. I drag myself up at 6, 7 in the morning to a (usually) cold morning to see friends and relatives that only come together this day to celebrate a bunch of Volvos with dead flowers pasted upon them (I can’t take credit for that one- heard it on a local radio station). To stand the crowds of hung over (and still drunk) people waiting for the onslaught of sights and sounds that would cause any degree of hangover to worsen. (seriously- with the right hangover, after three marching bands, I would have murdered anyone who would have tried to mess with me). Friends ask me time and time again why I put myself through it, through the security checkpoints and the traffic to spend hours watching the Rose Parade- to wait in between gaps as floats break down. To put up with my mother as she yells out things to the crowd. It’s seeing such an event up close, to be able to have a level of interaction to which you would never be able to see on television is what makes it worthwhile. One of my favorite memories of the parade had an element of this interaction- back in 2003, beloved children’s entertainer Mr. Rogers was one of many of the Grand Marshalls that year. I looked forward to seeing him as anyone else that grew up with his fantastic television show. Upon his approach, his car had come to a halt, waiting for the float before him to start up again. In the time waiting, a small child ran up to his car- or at least attempted to, before she was accosted by his bodyguards. Mr Rogers spoke a few words to the guards, and motioned for her to come closer. The little girl ran up, full of glee, and handed him a rose. He reached down and hugged her. Everyone within eyesight cheered and clapped wildly as the girl hugged him. You would have never seen that on the telecast of the Parade. It’s moments like these that makes the whole experience worth it.