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A last-minute guide to seeing Rose floats up close, before or after the Rose Parade

With all the emphasis on the actual Rose Parade from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, you might be wondering if there’s a chance to see the giant, flower-covered spectacles either before or after the parade – in person.

And there absolutely is a chance to see and smell the roses.

BEFORE THE PARADE

At this point, perhaps the greatest chance to see many of the floats before Monday’s Parade is on Sunday in Irwindale, about 15 miles east of Pasadena. It’s here where many of the floats built at the bigger float warehouses begin their trek to Pasadena.

Roughly mid to late afternoon, they start rolling out of the big barns in Irwindale to begin their long journey.

Read more Rose Parade coverage here.

The procession itself is a spectacle — a parade before the parade, in essence — where you can watch from the sidewalks on Irwindale Avenue and Arrow Highway/Live Oak Avenue.

Stay tuned to the city’s Twitter account at https://twitter.com/CityofIrwindale for the exact times, but rest assured that you’ll be able to see 34 floats fairly up close. Bring a jacket, because it will be chilly in that standing around. But for many, it’s well worth the experience.

All told, this year, 34 floats are expected to make the journey.

This year the Rose Parade will take place on Monday, January 2, 2023.

This means the float convoy that passes through a#Irwindale will be on Sunday, January 1, 2023.

Times will be provided on day of event. #StayTuned pic.twitter.com/sKHTeCCamy

— City of Irwindale (@CityofIrwindale) December 28, 2022

AFTER THE PARADE

For the ultimate up-close experience – aside from actually decorating a float – Sierra Madre Avenue and Washington Boulevard is the place to be post-Rose Parade — and two days, back to back, to boot.

That’s where you’ll find Floatfest: A Rose Parade Showcase, featuring a two-mile showcase of floats fresh off their world-famous appearance earlier in the morning.

Nearly 70,000 people attend Floatfest every year, offering guests a close-up look at the floats and a chance to interact with float exhibitors. Floatfest will be open Monday, Jan. 2, after the parade, and all day Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Admission is $20. Tickets are available at Park-N-Ride locations but end at 2:30 p.m. Advance tickets are available at sharpseating.com.

Pro tip: Wear comfortable shoes as there are no trams and seating is limited. Taking in all the floats will require walking a distance of about two and a half miles, about two hours.

Shuttles are free and will be available from two Pasadena locations: one at Pasadena City College, 1570 E. Colorado Blvd., with an entrance off Del Mar Boulevard or Bonnie near the corner of Hill Avenue); and the other at Rose Bowl Stadium Lot B, on Monday, Jan. 2 only. Shuttles depart about every five minutes.

Guests using shuttles get priority entrance at Floatfest. Masks are required.

Once you’re at Floatfest, pick up a brochure with a map of the venue. Water is available for free at three points within the event area. You can bring small amounts of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but no coolers.

Designate a meeting place in case you’re with a group and get separated. A good meeting option is near the Guest Services tent at the intersection of Sierra Madre and Washington.

American Sign Language interpreters will be available for hearing-impaired guests. Inquire at the entry gates or follow signs at the venue for details.

Floatfest hours are from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 2; 7 to 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, reserved for seniors and disabled guests; and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3 for the general public. For more information, visit visitpasadena.com.

Related links

Why the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl are on Jan. 2 in 2023
How Pearl Harbor turned a 1942 Rose Queen to a Victory Queen
10 last-minute things to know before the 134th Rose Parade in Pasadena
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