2017 Rose Parade went big with floats, but small animals stole the show

Many of this year’s floats celebrated the successes of organizations big and small, from a tribute to the City of Hope’s work, to showcases for Kiwanis, Toys for Tots, the Occupational Therapy Association of California and Shriners Hospitals for Children. A touching float from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation honored the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, with stars and released doves for each of the 49 victims.

And the cute

The surfing dogs of Lucy Pet Foundation’s “Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker” became an instant favorite with the crowds. The 125-foot-long float featured real dogs riding waves in a heated pool. The float weighed 140,000 pounds and was certified as the longest and heaviest float in Tournament of Roses history before the parade’s start.Fans loved the 42-foot tall bespectacled giraffe on the UPS Store’s “Books Bring Us Together” float, but the cute nod to the Toy for Tots Literacy Program required hydraulics that shrunk the giraffe’s neck and a pile of books beside him down to just 16 feet to get under power lines and the 210 Freeway near the 51/2-mile parade’s conclusion

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 AIDS Healthcare Foundation Float
 “To Honor & Remember Orlando”: Dedicated to the memory of the 49 who perished and those who survived a terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, the float features a large dove with outstretched wings. It’s adorned in white coconut chips and white dendrobium orchid florets. Forty-nine white doves will be released from the float on two separate occasions during the Parade; one each of those that died in the attack.
January 2, 2017 Pasadena, CA. Photo by: Michael D Thomas - EmpireBeatMagazine

Victoria Castellanos, right, is named the Tournament of Roses’ 99th Rose Queen at the Pasadena Playhouse on Thursday night, Oct. 20, 2016.

Photo by Michael D Thomas, EmpireBeatMagazine

PASADENA, Calif. (October 20, 2016) – Today the Tournament of Roses named Victoria Cecilia Castellanos as the 99th Rose Queen® at the Announcement and Coronation ceremony presented by Citizens Business Bank at The Pasadena Playhouse. The announcement follows a month-long selection process with nearly 1000 people participating in interviews. Masters of Ceremonies were Chuck Henry from NBC4 Southern California and 1988 Rose Queen Julie Myers King.

Rose Queen Victoria and the Royal Court will attend nearly 100 community and media functions, acting as ambassadors of the Association and the Pasadena community at large. Their reign will culminate on Monday, January 2nd, 2017 with the 128th Rose Parade® presented by Honda and the 103rd Rose Bowl Game® presented by Northwestern Mutual.

The Rose Queen and Royal Court were selected based upon a combination of qualities, including public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement, community and school involvement.

"The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game are the world' kickoff for the New Year, and Queen Victoria and the six Rose Princesses are true representatives of the valued traditions and distinct backgrounds that make Pasadena and these celebrations so special," said Tournament of Roses President Brad Ratliff after the Coronation. "They truly are Echoes of Success coming from the cultural richness of our community. Not only will Queen Victoria and the Royal Court be wonderful ambassadors, they eagerly await to meet many in our community to exchange stories about their own Echoes of Success as they bring to January 2nd and America's New Year's Celebration."

During the coronation ceremony, Ratliff presented Rose Queen Victoria with a Mikimoto crown featuring more than 600 cultured pearls and six carats of diamonds. Prior to the public event, all members of the Royal Court received a pearl necklace from Mikimoto.

Rose Queen Victoria Cecilia Castellanos, is a senior at Temple City High School and lives in Temple City. Victoria has been a part of Brighterside Singers since her sophomore year and has been in five Temple City High School musicals. She volunteers with the Pasadena Humane Society and the American Legion in Eagle Rock. Victoria enjoys writing short stories, reading, painting, collecting antiques and thrift shopping with her mom. She plans to study English, musical theater, and Japanese and would like to attend Amherst College or Smith College. Victoria is the daughter of Jesse Castellanos and Rachel Lasota; she has three siblings: John, Erika and Margarita.

The Rose Princesses are: Audrey Mariam Cameron, Blair High School; Maya Kawaguchi Khan, Arcadia High School; Shannon Tracy Larsuel, Mayfield Senior School; Autumn Marie Lundy, Polytechnic School; Natalie Rose Petrosian, La Cañada High School; and Lauren ‘Emi’ Emiko Powers, Arcadia High School