The Tournament of Roses (more commonly known as the Rose Parade) dates back to 1890. According to the wikipedia article Professor Charles F Holder of the Pasadena Valley Hunt Club was quoted as saying: "In New York, people are buried in the snow. Here our flowers are blooming and our oranges are about to bear. Let's hold a festival to the tell the world about our paradise."
The first January 1st football game was held twelve years later in 1902 featuring Michigan vs. Stanford. The score was so lopsided (49-0) that Stanford quit in the third quarter.
For the next fifteen years organizers decided instead to substitute chariot races . . .
. . . ostrich races, and a race between a camel and an elephant (the elepahnt won) as diversions after the parade.
Finally, in 1916 football returned and the rest, as they say, is history. While I personally have zero emotional ties to either Wisconsin or Texas Christian University in today's non Pac Ten matchup, I'm sure the folks in Pasadena are very appreciative of the tens of millions of dollars being pumped into the local economy.
Regarding the parade, we moved up to San Luis Obispo last summer and weren't able to see it this time around. Maybe next year.
If you've never been, it's quiet incredible and it's really worth seeing in person.
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