The first job of 2015 was an early riser. Call time at 4:30am to get into Pasadena along with 100’s of 1000’s of others to get in position for the monster parade.
The best way to witness the spectacle is not from the grandstands where you are squeezed in, but from the street gutter with an “all-access” pass that lets you roam at will. I was shooting for several national sponsors that had floats in the parade, so it meant behind-the-scenes coverage, and that really helped to understand some of the immense background logistics to put on an event that huge.
There’s a lot more to see than what is shown on television. That’s the most memorable aspect. The marching bands sound great up close. The drill teams make major mistakes. The white-suited pooper squads are stationed every 100 yards or so and dash out into the street to clean up after each horse brigade passes.
After the parade we covered the inrush of 18,000 onlookers who each paid $10 to view the floats on display. Pasadena erects about 3 miles of fencing to create a viewing park that lasts for 3 days. Then its all cleaned up and put away til next year–kind of like Halloween.