Hundreds of thousands of revelers welcomed the new year Saturday by lining the streets to watch the 116th Rose Parade, featuring a 45-foot-tall replica of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and a train more than 200 feet long — the longest float in parade history.
For others, the day wasn’t complete without the Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, where spectators watched elaborately dressed marchers in temperatures that soared to a record 63 degrees.
The Rose Parade featured 50 flower-covered floats reflecting the theme “Celebrate Family” with a fanciful mix of characters, including a 50-foot rocket man, a dragon teaching its child to fly and a family of frogs on a bicycle trying to escape a menacing French chef.
Mickey Mouse was the grand marshal.
A 207-foot, firework-spouting train float, called “Families Across America,” drew loud cheers and won the award for exceptional showmanship and dramatic impact for a float more than 55 feet long.
“It was just a massive float,” said Jean Dormann, of Walnut Creek, Calif., who watched the parade.
The award for most beautiful floral presentation and design went to “Playful Pandemonium,” which depicted a family of panda bears frolicking in a misty forest and stream.
The New Year’s extravaganza was led by the Disneyland float, a 45-foot-tall replica of Sleeping Beauty Castle commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary of the theme park. The float was covered with white, yellow and lavender mums, plus “an ample touch of genuine Disney pixie dust,” according to the parade program.
“It was very fun and beautiful,” said Tyler Bratton, a 10-year-old who snapped photos of his first Rose Parade.
The parade began with a roaring flyover by an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber that brought spectators to their feet. It was followed by a float sponsored by the city of Alhambra, Calif., depicting a floral eagle and two American flags.
Many of the parade-watchers had staked out front-row seats on Friday and spent the night huddled around curbside barbecues or wrapped in blankets. Overnight temperatures dipped into the low 40s, but Saturday’s skies were clear and sunny.
During the overnight New Year’s party, authorities arrested at least 34 people for public drunkenness and other charges, but no major injuries were reported.
At the 104th Mummers Parade in Philadelphia, about 10,000 brightly dressed marchers strummed, strutted and pirouetted down Broad Street in salute to the Armed Forces and the defending NFC East champion Philadelphia Eagles.
It was the city’s warmest New Year’s Day on record, breaking the previous high of 62 degrees in 1973.
“Out of 49 years I’ve paraded, this is one of the nicest. I’ve paraded in snow, ice, wind and rain,” participant Bob Adair said.
One float, named Air Horse One, combined the head of a cavalry horse and the tail of a plane, with a sign reading “Horses to Jets, no matter what equipment our Armed Forces are best.”
Scott and Tracey McKelvie, former Philadelphia residents who now live in Baltimore, said they returned to show the spectacle to their children, ages 5 and 9.
“We were trying to explain to people in Baltimore what this was all about, but you have to be here,” Scott McKelvie said.