- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 1, 2005

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of revelers welcomed the New Year yesterday by lining the streets to watch the 116th Rose Parade, featuring a 45-foot-tall replica of Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle and a train more than 200 feet long — the longest float in parade history.

The parade featured 50 flower-covered floats reflecting the theme “Celebrate Family” with a fanciful mix of characters, including a 50-foot rocket man, a dragon teaching its child to fly and a family of frogs on a bicycle trying to escape a menacing French chef.

Mickey Mouse was the grand marshal.

A 207-foot, fireworks-spouting train float, called “Families Across America,” drew loud cheers and won the award for exceptional showmanship and dramatic impact for a float more than 55 feet long.

“It was just a massive float,” said Jean Dormann, of Walnut Creek, Calif., who watched the parade.

The award for most beautiful floral presentation and design went to “Playful Pandemonium,” which depicted a family of panda bears frolicking in a misty forest and stream.

The New Year’s extravaganza was led by the Disneyland float, which commemorated the upcoming 50th anniversary of the theme park. The float was covered with white, yellow and lavender mums, plus “an ample touch of genuine Disney pixie dust,” according to the parade program.

“It was very fun and beautiful,” said Tyler Bratton, a 10-year-old who snapped photos of his first Rose Parade.

The parade began with a roaring flyover by an Air Force B-2 stealth bomber that brought spectators to their feet. It was followed by a float sponsored by the city of Alhambra, Calif., depicting a floral eagle and two American flags.

Many of the parade-watchers had staked out front-row seats Friday and spent the night huddled around curbside barbecues or wrapped in blankets.

During the overnight New Year’s party, authorities arrested at least 34 persons for public drunkenness and other charges, but no major injuries were reported.

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