Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 4, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 5


Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 4, 2020 

A Parade 
of Music

Rose Float Driver 'A Hero'

With a theme “The Melody 
of Life,” it is not a surprise that 
the 130th Rose Parade Tuesday 
morning was filled with live 
music from, the Los Angeles 
Philharmonic, Kool & the 
Gang to surf rock and a Taiwan 
folk drum troupe, just to name 
a few. 

 Many of the floats also featured 
larger than life instruments such 
as guitars, keyboards and even 
an ancient musical instrument 
known as, “RABAB” 

 Grand Marshal Chaka Khan 
started the Parade’s opening 
act performing “I Feel For You” 
and a brand new single “Hello 
Happiness.” Anne-Marie Rose 
sang “2002” during the parades 
premature ending. 

 In between all the floats were 
over 20 Marching Bands, 
from the hometown Pasadena 
City College Tournament of 
Roses Honor Band & Herald 
Trumpets to The Salvation 
Army Tournament of Roses 
Band, Long Beach. Others were 
from as far away as Karlskrona, 
Sweden (Royal Swedish Cadet 
Band) and Izumo, Japan (All-
Izumo Honor Green Band) to 
Banda Municipal de Acosta (San 
José, Costa Rica). Many of the 
bands represented all parts of 
the country including Alabama 
State University Mighty 
Marching Hornets (Alabama), 
lorida A&M University, The 
Incomparable Marching “100” 
(Florida), to Hawaii’s Na 
Koa Ali`I – Hawai`i All-State 
Marching Band.

 Rose Parade Equestrian units 
were not forgotten with crowd 
favorites, Budweiser Clydesdales 
and the Mini Therapy Horses. 
The Norco Cowgirls Rodeo 
Drill Team & Little Miss Norco 
Cowgirls Jr. Drill Team and 
Spirit of the West Riders were 
back this year. The Hawaii Pa’u 
Riders from Waimanalo, Hawaii 
rode in line with Dole Packaged 
Foods “Rhythm of Paradise 
float” and the mentioned Na 
Koa Ali`I band. 

 The Dole float entree included 
Los Angeles-based Tahitian 
dance students of Te Aho Nui 
and professional fire dancers 
Lopati Leaso and Andrés 

 There were many firsts in the 
parade including Gerald Freeny 
as the Tournament’s first African 
American president and Louise 
Deser Siskel as the first member 
of the LGBTQ community to be 
Rose Queen. 

 The parade had a chaotic 
end (see related story right) 
after the Chinese American 
Heritage Foundation float 
“Harmony Through Union” 
caught fire becoming disabled. 
As the float was being moved, 
temporary stopping the parade, 
many parade goers started to 
leave thinking the parade was 
over although both the South 
Pasadena float “Three Little 
Birds,” and Dig Alert: “Backyard 
Harmony” along with The Royal 
Swedish Cadet Band had not 
started down the parade route.

 South Pasadena float officials 
refused comment for this story.

By Dean Lee

 The two founders of the 
Chinese American Heritage 
Foundation, sponsor of the 
Rose Parade float Harmony 
Through Union that caught 
fire, crippling the float at 
Orange Grove and Colorado 
Boulevards – causing a 
backup and delay in the 
parade– said the true heros 
were the float driver and 
Tournament volunteers. 

 “He was able to turn the 
wheel inside the float to 
get it to stop,” said Wilson 
Lee, Founder of Chinese 
American Heritage 
Foundation. “ and before 
he left the float, he was able 
to grab the fire extinguisher 
and [put out the fire].”

 Lee said most of, what 
looked like, smoke was 
from the canisters of the 

 “They emptied extinguishers 
on to that whole area to 
make sure that all the fire 
was put out,” he said.

 Lee said Tournament 
volunteers evacuated the 
float riders.

 “The procedure they have 
put in place, in case an 
accident like this were to 
occur, worked flawlessly. So 
we want to commend all the 
volunteers,” he said 

 He called the float built by 
Fiesta Floats a “work of art.”

 “We hate to have a small 
minor incident hurt the 
reputation of Fiesta, they are 
[best] float builders in the 
world, probably.”

 Lee also said the floats 
message of the 14,000 
immigrants that built the 
Transcontinental Railroad 
150 years ago, right after the 
Civil War, “represents the 
hardship of the Chinese, the 
Irish, Germans the Native 
Americans... everyone that 
had to due with building 
American.” He likened the 
floats message to that of the 
Statue of Liberty.

 He said they where working 
with Fiesta and the City of 
Los Angeles to possibly show 
it at the Golden Dragon 
Parade in Chinatown 
February 9. 

 He also dispel rumors that 
the float had been built in 
two weeks. 

 “What we did in two weeks 
was the decoration only,” 
Lee also said the float went 
though all the normal safety 
checks and testing. He 
added that the float chassis 
was built in October. 

 Esther Lee president of the 
Chinese American Heritage 
Foundation said they were 
leaving what happened to 
the engineering and the fire 

 In a statement, Tim Estes, 
President if Fiesta Parade 
Floats said “Preliminary 
information suggests that 
a leak of transmission fluid 
made contact with a hot 
exhaust pipe. The contact 
with the pipe created a small 
flame and a lot more smoke.” 

Wilson and Esther Lee

Pictured (Top) South 
Pasadena’s float “Three Little 
Birds (above) Tournament of 
Roses President 2019 Gerald 
Freeny rides down the parade. 
He is the first African American 


(Above left) Rose 
Queen Louise Deser 
Siskel and the Royal 
Court. (Right top) 
Pasadena Mayor Terry 
Tornek. (Right middle) 
Chaka Khan the 
2019 Grand Marshal 
(Right Bottom) PCC 
Tournament of Roses 
Honor Band & Herald 
Trumpets. (Bottom) 
United Sikh Mission 
float featuring the 

A free writing club open to 
members of the Pasadena Senior 
Center, 85 E. Holly St., will meet 
at 10 a.m. every Tuesday. Prior 
writing experience is not required.

 The instructor, Dr. Sam Eisenstein, 
will lead participants through the 
process of writing in each of their 
preferred genres, from memoirs to 
fiction. Eisenstein taught creative 
writing from 1961 to 2017 at Los 
Angeles City College, where he 
also served as the advisor on the 
English Department’s annual 
literary journal The Citadel. He is 
a Fulbright scholar who taught for 
one year in Japan. He has published 
novels, collections of stories, essays 
and poetry.

 For more information visit: or call 

 The Pasadena Senior Center is 
an independent, donor-supported 
nonprofit organization that offers 
recreational, educational, wellness 
and social services to people ages 50 
and older

Wells Fargo Stagecoaches All photos D. Lee/MVNews

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: