Thousands Up Early This Morning For Rose Parade

Carnations are getting a final fluffing and trumpets a final tuning for the 119th Rose Parade.

"Everyone is going on adrenaline," said Larry Palmer, a spokesman for Phoenix Decorating Co., which built, designed and decorated 19 of the 46 floats that will roll down the 5.5-mile
parade route.

Celebrity chef Emeril Lagasse will serve as grand marshal of the floral extravaganza with the theme "Passport to the World's Celebrations." The parade also features 21 marching bands and 18 equestrian units.

Police kept a close eye on the crowd through the night, watching for alcohol and other problems as young and old spectators camped out along the parade route and kept the atmosphere festive despite winds and cold-for-Southern-California temperatures in the 40s.

Jim Colligan, 47, of La Crescenta said he has been camping out at the parade for 14 years with his barbecue and heating lamp. "We open the barbecue up to everyone. This is my Christmas, this is my time to give," Colligan said.

High school senior Arezu Aghaseyedjavadi, 18, and a friend,
college student Elyse Swift, 18, played cards to pass the time.

"We also hang out and talk a lot and look for cute boys," said Aghaseyedjavadi, who had helped decorate the parade's West Covina

"I like to see my hard work out there," she said.

Police also intended to monitor human rights advocates who said they would protest a float honoring the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

About 20 members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement who oppose
the Beijing float, meditated along the route Monday.

"We're not protesting the parade," said Sherry Zhang, 36, a chemist and Falun Gong member. "Our message is the Olympics and crimes against humanity in China cannot coexist."

Pasadena Mayor Bill Bogaard said he and the Tournament of Roses
view the float as a celebration of the Olympic Games, "not as a
subject of criticism of the Chinese."

The weather was mostly expected to cooperate with parade organizers. Forecasters predicted no rain and a high of 74.

However, with dry winds whipping much of Southern California, the National Weather Service issued a red flag warning through Tuesday, indicating conditions were ripe for brush fires.

Winds gusts were expected to hit 30 mph in Pasadena.