PASADENA — The city of Alhambra’s float received the Princess Trophy in the Jan. 1 Tournament of Roses Parade for the most outstanding floral presentation among entries less than 35 feet.
The float, with a theme “Home to Tweet Home,” was designed and built by Phoenix Float.
For the first time in its 130-year history, the Rose Parade grand marshal — 10-time Grammy Award winner Chaka Khan — entertained along with her grandchildren with a medley of her hits before the parade made its way along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena.
The parade began with the “Opening Spectacular” performance featuring Khan, “Dancing with the Stars” champion Jordan Fisher and hundreds of dancers.
The annual event had a brief mishap when the Chinese American Heritage Foundation’s float was disabled by a small fire near the intersection of Orange Grove Boulevard and Green Street and had to be towed along the remainder of the route.
The fire was quickly put out by police officers and parade workers, Lisa Derderian of the Pasadena Fire Department said. The interruption caused a slight delay for the parade progression but no one was injured, Derderian said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.
The parade featured 40 floral-covered floats, 18 equestrian groups and 20 marching bands from across the country and around the world, including bands from Japan, Sweden, Costa Rica and Canada.
The marching bands from the University of Washington and Ohio State University — the teams competing in the Rose Bowl game — also took part in the parade.
Sequoyah High School senior and San Marino resident Louise Deser Siskel reigned over the procession as the 101st Rose Queen. She was accompanied by the six members of her Royal Court: Lauren Michele Baydaline, Ashley Symone Hackett, Rucha S. Kadam, Sherry Xiaorui Ma, Micaela Sue McElrath, and Helen Susan Rossi.
The stars of the parade, however, were the brightly colored, animated floats — all covered from top to bottom with flowers or other organic materials.
Universal Pictures make its debut as a float sponsor, teaming up with DreamWorks Animation to present a float heralding the upcoming animated film “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” The float featured a floral-covered, fire-breathing dragon.
Stella Rosa Wines made its second Rose Parade appearance with a “Taste the Magic” float, ridden by the Grammy-winning band Kool & the Gang, who also performed in a nod to the parade’s Melody of Life theme.
Khan, known for hits including “I Feel for You,” “Through the Fire” and “This is My Night,” was chosen to align with the parade’s “Melody of Life” theme.
Tournament of Roses President Gerald Freeny said the theme has universal appeal, since music touches the lives of people around the world.
“On a personal scale, it gets us through our day, it accompanies us through good times and bad times,” Freeny said. “It is quite literally the soundtrack of our lives. But on a grand scale, it has the ability to heal, to unite, to promote change, to bring joy and harmony and rhythm and happiness.
“Music has a unique power to transcend borders and boundaries, to travel across countries and continents. It speaks to old and young. It represents, enriches and sustains our human existence. It quite simply touches every single life on Earth.”
This article originally appeared in the Wave Newspapers.