Virus Fears Cancel L.A. Rose Parade for First Time in 75 Years

The UPS Store float, 'Books Keep Us on Our Toes' and winner of the Sweepstakes Award, moves along the route in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Rose Parade. (Photo: Carlos Delgado/AP)
Carlos Delgado/AP

For the first time in 75 years, the famed Rose Parade will not travel down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, California, because of fears that the coronavirus will still be a threat on the first day of 2021.

The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announced on Wednesday that the annual parade with floats crafted entirely from flowers and plants is canceled. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s renewed shutdown of the state contributed to the decision, according to a statement from the association.the announcement said:

With reluctance and tremendous disappointment, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announces that, in accordance with Governor Newsom’s Phase IV re-opening schedule, and after thoughtful consideration of the restrictions and guidelines in place as a result of COVID-19, we are unable to host the 2021 Rose Parade.

The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” Bob Miller, 2021 President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, said in the announcement. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.

The association said the January 1 event has only been cancelled three times since its inaugural run in 1891 — in 1942, 1943, and 1945 because of World War II.

“While we are extremely disappointed that we are unable to host the parade, we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect the legacy of the Rose Parade for generations to come,” David Eads, executive director and CEO of the association, said in the announcement.

The association said despite the cancellation they are hoping to still celebrate the New Year.

“Working in conjunction with our broadcast partners and sponsors, the Tournament of Roses has plans underway for a new kind of New Year celebration for those across the country and around the world,” the announcement said. Eads said:

Each year, the country turns its eyes to Pasadena for America’s New Year celebration and we plan to deliver on that important promise. We may not be able to host our traditional five-mile march down Colorado Boulevard, but we are exploring new and safe ways we can collectively share in the celebration, and we look forward to announcing further details about our exciting new plans in the coming weeks.

January 1 is also the date for the iconic Rose Bowl college football playoff game and, according to the association, planning for the game is “still ongoing.”

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