I'll Pick Myself a California Rose

Tina Lernø, Librarian, Digital Content Team,
I'll Pick Myself a California Rose sheet music
I'll Pick Myself a California Rose, 1917

New Year's Day marks the 130th Rose Parade®. Going strong since 1890, it’s been showcasing our beautiful Southern California weather and foliage to viewers around the country and the world. It all began when Pasadena Valley Hunt Club member Professor Charles F. Holder announced, “In New York, people are buried in snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to tell the world about our paradise." It wasn’t until 1902 that the football game was added to boost funds for the parade, and eventually the Rose Bowl Stadium was built in 1923 to boost that endeavor!

The parade is an annual New Year’s Day tradition for the people of Los Angeles. Many volunteer to build and decorate floats, while others make it an annual event to watch in person, even camping out along the parade route the night before. Some chose to gather together at home to watch the festivities while others go the next day to view the floats up close and personal at Victory Park. A select few have had the honor of being in the Rose Parade® itself, either with a marching band, equestrian group, or seated atop a float.

While the library has never sailed a float down Colorado Boulevard, we do have a fairly extensive collection of photographs and souvenir programs showcasing the events dating back to 1890.

man holding football running
Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, CA: New Year's number, Pasadena Star-News,1924
two girls sitting on a float of roses
Tournament of Roses and football classic, Pasadena Star-News, 1926
art deco designed peacock
Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, CA, Star News-Post, 1934
woman floating on a boat near a swan
Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, CA, Star News, Post, 1937
women in a field playing with fairies
Tournament of Roses, Pasadena, CA, Star-News, Post, 1938
women in uniform standing on a rose parade float
Pasadena Tournament of Roses review,1948
women wearing giant rhinestone crown
Pasadena Tournament of Roses pictorial, 1957
celebrities waving from parade floats
Tournament of Roses, Pasadena CA, 1970