Rose Parade’s Flower-Laden Float Procession Ushers In New Year
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) _ A million spectators today lined a sun-drenched, 5 1/2 -mile route to watch a procession of flower-laden floats proclaiming the ″Voyages of Discovery″ theme of the 103rd Tournament of Roses.
More than 300 million people worldwide were expected to see the festive display. For the first time, the parade was seen in the Commonwealth of Independent States, formerly the U.S.S.R.
A group of American Indians demonstrated against participation of a Christopher Columbus descendant; banner-toting animal rights activists protested the General Motors entry.
And there was one embarrassing breakdown: American Honda Motor Co.’s ″America’s History Book″ entry had to be towed.
″Cut animals, not jobs. Crash test keeps GM in the Dark Ages,″ read banners carried by four protesters upset by the automaker’s use of animals in crash tests. Police removed the protesters, one dressed as a rabbit.
About 70 people were arrested, mostly for public drunkenness, by the 1,000- officer force policing the parade route, but police said it was a very peaceful occasion.
Police spokeswoman Janet Hinton estimated the number of spectators at 1 million.
Thousands of spectators who camped overnight on the parade route - some had brought barbecues and portable television sets - woke to a dazzling sunrise with temperatures in the 40s.
Spanish aristocrat Cristobal Colon, the 20th descendant of Christopher Columbus, and U.S. Rep. Ben Nighthorse Campbell, D-Colo., were co-grand marshals. Former Beirut hostage Joseph Cicippio and his wife were guests of honor.
Campbell, who sat atop a horse and wore a Cheyenne riding suit and headdress, was named co-grand marshal to appease Indian groups angry over the selection of a descendant of Columbus, portrayed by protesters as a brutal adventurer.
Between 50 and 100 people staged a noisy demonstration to protest the Columbus theme. Deputies cleared some of the protesters from the parade route.
Actor George Takai, who played Sulu in the ″Star Trek″ TV and movie series, rode on the City of Alhambra’s ″Star Voyager″ float. ″I’m the captain of this ship,″ Takai said.
The top trophy for most beautiful float was awarded to the General Motors entry ″Looking to the Future″ which featured a NASA-inspired planet- exploring vehicle with a dinosaur-like robotic neck.
The United Auto Workers union withdrew as a co-sponsor of the float because of GM’s plans to close its nearby Van Nuys assembly plant in August.
The parade of 60 floats, 22 musical units and 275 equestrians ushers in the afternoon Rose Bowl football game between Washington and Michigan.