It’s unavoidable but, as the president of the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee, Brant Dunlap, often hears the question, will the Rose Parade be held on January 1, 2022?
Keep your fingers crossed is the short answer. “I truly hope that we do not have to pause another parade,” said Dunlap, who has dedicated many years to the success of South Pasadena’s float entry. “But I really think it will be just as difficult to pull it off in 2022 as 2021.”
Dunlap only has to turn to the number of COVID-19 cases, although declining in California, to convince him why the next Rose Parade could potentially be shelved again. As of February 16, California has a staggering 3,412,057 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 47,107 deaths.
On Tuesday night during a town hall meeting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, President Biden said citizens may not return to regular routines until early next year. “In a year from now I think there will be significantly fewer people having to be socially distanced, having to wear masks,” he said, “but we don’t know. So, I don’t want to over promise anything here.”
By the end of July, Biden said the United States should be able to vaccinate every single American, adding he empathizes with the confusion over changing scientific predictions, the vaccine appointment system, challenges faced by families and the constant fears of contracting the deadly virus.
With the Rose Parade sidelined for a year, SPTOR officials will pick up where they left off and shift their plans for the 2021 parade to 2022, meaning the design and initial rendering for the float have already been completed. Dunlap’s board, which currently meets via Zoom, has approved the naming and design of the city’s float , “Sky’s the Limit”, with hopes it will roll down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena next January.
“Our committee is starting to get back together and making finishing touches on plans for our float in the next parade,” Dunlap explained. “There are a lot of little details we must go over, including the final dimensions and other key aspects of the float. There’s a lot that goes into putting it on the parade route. Right now we’re finalizing the colors for our final color rendering of the float.”
“Dream. Believe. Achieve.” will be the theme of the next Rose Parade slated for Saturday, January 1, 2022, featuring many of the same elements of the 2021 spectacle since it was cancelled.
Dr. Bob Miller, the Tournament of Roses president last year, will serve in the identical role this year. Laura Farber, immediate past president and a South Pasadena resident, serves on the executive committee.
SPTOR was limited in what it could do regarding fundraising in 2020, holding only a Crunch Time Auction, which successfully raised roughly $33,000. In addition, the committee received some donations in kind throughout the year, all of which will be applied to the construction of the city’s next float.
“We lost out on our golf tournament, the Cruz’n for Rose’s Car Show and our $20,000 raffle,” said Dunlap, describing some of the annual fundraisers held to raise the necessary funds to build the city’s floral masterpiece. “We clearly have made a great head start toward the 2022 parade. And we are so very thankful for the support we received. The concern, though, is simple. If COVID-19 gets in the way for yet another year, our loss of fundraising will have put us behind close to $50,000 for 2021’s build. If that sounds like a lot, you’re correct.”
Dunlap’s planning committee, doing whatever it can to raise funds, just finished its first-ever See’s Candy fundraiser for Valentine’s Day, raising more than $700. “We thank those who ordered and we want to remind everyone our spring sale will be our next See’s Candy fundraiser, running from February 22 to March 15th,” he said.
Following that effort, SPTOR hopes its traditional golf tourney will return to Arroyo Seco Golf Course in South Pasadena. Event chairs John Vandercook and Alan Vlacich are ready to put it on if coronavirus relief gives it a green light.
When Dunlap looks at the staggering numbers associated with COVID-19, “my first thought is how this has affected the entire world,” he said. “It has been with us for about 11 months and in most ways it is worse than we could have ever imagined. On the flip side, it has challenged us in personal, financial, and a business sense to survive. As an organization, the SPTOR continues to fight and think outside the box as we look ahead, especially when it comes to fundraising.”
Dunlap urged, on behalf of his committee, those in the community to “stay safe,” stressing, “We wish everyone good health for 2021.”
He says it with hope that the Rose Parade, with all the excitement surrounding the festive kickoff to a new year, will make its return in 2022.
“Wouldn’t that be great?” he asked. “We could all use a good parade to lift our spirits.”