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Rose Parade 2009: Fun Facts

The high-stepping equestrian units, spirited marching bands and festive floats of the 120th Rose Parade will set out at 8am PST on New Year's Day. Get the details.

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When: Thursday, January 1, 2009, 11am /10c

Where: Pasadena, California

Theme: Hats Off to Entertainment

TV coverage: Home & Garden Television (HGTV)

Parade Queen: Courtney Lee

Grand Marshal: Cloris Leachman, Emmy- and Oscar-winning actress

Length of parade: 5.5 miles

Where it starts: At the corner of Ellis Street and Orange Grove Blvd. in Pasadena

Where it ends: Sierra Madre and Villa Street

Other Fun Facts for 2009:

  • The Rose Queen and Rose Princesses have presided over the annual celebration each year since 1930. During their reign, they make numerous social and media appearances, serving as goodwill ambassadors for the Tournament of Roses Association. Each September, hundreds of local young women between the ages of 17 and 21 participate in the month-long selection process to become a member of the Royal Court. Participants are evaluated on a number of qualities, including poise, academic achievement, public speaking ability and community involvement.

  • The Tournament of Roses has a "Never on Sunday" policy. In 1893 officials decided to move the parade to Monday, Jan. 2, to avoid frightening horses tethered outside local churches. As a result of this reverent gesture, speculation abounds as to the rare instances of rainfall on New Year's Day (only 10 times in Rose Parade history), prompting some to wonder if the Tournament has a pact with a "friend upstairs." It rained in 2006 for the first time in 51 years — on Monday, Jan. 2.

  • Some of the world's most distinguished individuals have served as grand marshal. A few of the famous personalities who have filled this role: Dwight Eisenhower, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Shirley Temple Black, Bob Newhart, Angela Lansbury, Tom Brokaw, Bill Cosby and Mickey Mouse.

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