LA Celebrates New Years Day With The 125th Rose Parade - New York News

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LA Celebrates New Years Day With The 125th Rose Parade

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Pasadena, CA -

(FOX 11 / CNS) Top awards went to the City of Glendale and Dole Packaged Foods, as final preparations were underway for the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

The Governor's Award for best depiction of life in California went to "Let's Be Neighbors,'' a highly-animated effort from the City of Glendale. And the Sweepstakes Award for the most-beautiful entry went to Dole, for its "Sunrise At The Oasis.''

The City of Downey won the Founders' Award, for the most-beautiful float built and decorated by volunteers, for its float, "The Glass Slipper.''

For the first time, two men were to be married on a parade float, watched by many of the 700,000 people in attendance and a U.S. television audience of millions. Worldwide, the once quaint, horse-drawn parade is broadcast in about 200 countries.

Forecasters say temperatures will be in the 50s when the parade steps off at 8 a.m. and in the 70s by the time No. 5 Stanford takes on No. 4 Michigan State in the 100th Rose Bowl game. Kickoff is set for 2:10 p.m.

Vin Scully, the voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for the past 63 years, will be the parade's grand marshal and toss the kickoff coin. In the first Rose Bowl, in 1902, Stanford lost to Michigan, 49-0.

Pasadena police are old hands at handling parade-day crowds, and the department's ranks generally swell to about 1,200 officers this time of year. Still, they are urging people to report unattended bags or any other suspicious activity. No alcohol is allowed along the parade route.

At noon Tuesday, parade-goers began staking out sidewalks lining the 5 1/2-mile route down Colorado Boulevard. Forty-eight floats, 20 marching bands and 16 equestrian units are expected to participate. This year's theme is "Dreams Come True.''

Protesters against same-sex marriage have called for a boycott of the parade. And activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals plan to demonstrate against SeaWorld and its float entry, The Sea of Surprise, which includes killer whales -- mammals PETA says should be set free.

Randy Thomasson, the head of a Sacramento-based pro-family group, calling for the boycott of the parade and its sponsors because two men will be married aboard the AIDS Healthcare Foundation float.

Thomasson said "parents and grandparents'' were appalled at what he called a "political stunt forced upon children who are watching.'' Michael Weinstein, president of AHF, brushed off the criticism, saying same-sex marriages were nothing to hide from children and "first and foremost,
it's the law of the land in California.''

"We're not going to be stopped by the haters and, No. Two, there's no asterisk alongside these marriages,'' he said, adding same-sex marriages are now legal in 18 states.

Danny Leclair, 42, originally from Canada, and Aubrey Loots, 45, and a native of South Africa, will exchange vows aboard the float. Together, they own Studio DNA Salons, a chain of three hair salons.

AHF officials said the couple will be joined on the float by Sharon Raphael and Mina Meyer, a lesbian couple who have been together for 42 years and were married in California in 2008.

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