- The 2021 Rose Parade has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time in 75 years, the 132nd Rose Parade that would have taken place on January 1, 2021, has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This also marks the first major event in 2021 to be canceled.
“The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” said Bob Miller, 2021 President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.”
The Rose Parade is held every year on January 1 in celebration of the New Year. The last time the parade was canceled was between 1942, 1943, and 1945 during World War II.
While January is still five months away, the preparation for the parade typically begins in February. With restrictions and social distancing in place, the odds were stacked up against the event.
“In addition to the advance planning required by our band and equestrian units, the construction of our floats takes many months and typically requires thousands of volunteers to gather in ways that aren’t in compliance with safety recommendations and won’t be safe in the coming months,” said David Eads, Executive Director/CEO. “While we are extremely disappointed that we are unable to host the parade, we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect the legacy of the Rose Parade for generations to come.”
In addition to the parade, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association also hosts the Rose Bowl Game each January 1. The Rose Bowl Game, which will serve as a College Football Playoff Semifinal, is still ongoing.
“We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and our collegiate partners to explore what this year’s college football season will look like amidst COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines. While the safety and well-being of the student athletes, university personnel and fans is our top priority, we remain hopeful that the Granddaddy of Them All will take place on New Year’s Day,” continued Eads.
“I know that I speak on behalf of our 935 volunteer members, and the hundreds of thousands in our community for which the Rose Parade is an annual tradition, when I say we will miss the joy of coming together and the making of memories,” said Miller. “But know that we will not miss this opportunity to celebrate a New Year and healthy new beginnings on January 1, 2021.”
“We all know what the Rose Parade means to us here in Pasadena, as well as to New Year celebrations around the world. To know that we won’t get to experience this great tradition on January 1, 2021, is extremely disappointing. However, we also know that we must act responsibly to protect our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek. “We look forward to working with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses on their reimagined New Year celebration, as well as the return of the Rose Parade on January 1, 2022.”
Plans to continue the parade were in the cards. However, the Tournament of Roses commissioned a feasibility and safety report for hosting the Rose Parade during the COVID-19 Pandemic, conducted by public health experts from the Keck School of Medicine of USC the report showed that even with intensive effort to ensure compliance with public health measures such as six-foot distancing and face masks, it is likely that Rose Parade activities before, during and after the event would inevitably lead to large numbers of individuals (many of whom represent high risk groups for COVID-19 complications, such as retirees over age 60) in close proximity to each other, potentially, in some cases, without masks.
With participants and spectators also traveling into the Los Angeles Region from across the country and the world, it also posed a risk for infection to spread.
The Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association plans to create a new experience with broadcast partners and sponsors to celebrate the New Year on January 1, 2021.
“Each year, the country turns its eyes to Pasadena for America’s New Year celebration and we plan to deliver on that important promise,” said Eads. “We may not be able to host our traditional five-mile march down Colorado Boulevard, but we are exploring new and safe ways we can collectively share in the celebration, and we look forward to announcing further details about our exciting new plans in the coming weeks.”