Tournament of Roses Parade is canceled for January 2021

Only fourth time in history

City News Service | 7/17/2020, midnight

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging in Southern California, the 2021 Rose Parade has been officially canceled. The fate of the Rose Bowl Game later that afternoon remains in limbo.

“The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,’’ Bob Miller, president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association said in a statement. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.’’

It’s only the fourth time since 1891 that the parade has been canceled, with the three previous cancellations occurring during the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.

Although the New Year’s Day tradition was technically still months away, planning for the elaborate floral floats that highlight the event – and arranging for the often international travel of participating marching bands and equestrian groups -- is a nearly yearlong process, necessitating an early decision on whether to hold the event. Tournament of Roses officials noted that the state’s economic reopening guidelines appear to be a long way off from permitting large public gatherings such as a parade.

David Eads, Tournament of Roses executive director/CEO, said planning is continuing for the Rose Bowl Game, but uncertainty still looms over the college football season.

“We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and our collegiate partners to explore what this year’s college football season will look like amidst COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines,’’ Eads said in a statement. “While the safety and well-being of the student athletes, university personnel and fans is our top priority, we remain hopeful that the ‘Granddaddy of Them All’ will take place on New Year’s Day.’’

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek called the decision “extremely disappointing.’’

“However, we also know that we must act responsibly to protect our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic,’’ Tornek said. “We look forward to working with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses on their re-imagined New Year celebration, as well as the return of the Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2022.’’