Mayor Kathy Taylor will lead a delegation of Tulsans to attend the annual Rose Parade next Monday as part of a tribute to the state during its Centennial year. The parade will kick off after the official opening show at 10 a.m. (CST) on Jan. 1, 2007 in Pasadena, California during the 2007 Tournament of Roses.
“It’s great to see Oklahoma featured on this national stage,” Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor said. Taylor will be in California to ring in the New Year and view the tribute show and the parade.
The Mayor will be one of many Tulsans who plan to attend the Tournament of Roses to see Oklahoma honored. “I am very proud to represent our great state, and this fine city,” Taylor said. “Compared to other states, Oklahoma is very young. But in our short history we have been an unquestionable force in this nation and our people have made an undeniable impact in this world.”
The opening show will feature 20 dancers from Oklahoma City University’s Spirit Dance Company. They will be accompanied by Oklahoma’s All*Star Band, composed of 150 talented high school musicians from across the state. The band will then lead the parade after the opening.
Two Oklahoma floats will be featured in the parade, one honoring Oklahoma’s Unique History and the other providing a glimpse of the state’s future, Oklahoma Rising. Oklahoma celebrities will ride on both floats.
The theme for this year’s parade is “Our Good Nature.” Over a million spectators are expected to attend the parade, which is five-and-a-half miles long. Over 400 million viewers in 135 countries are expected to view the event on television.
George Lucas will serve as the 2007 Grand Marshal of the Tournament of Roses. Lucas is well known for his six “Star Wars” saga movies as well as the Indiana Jones character and movie trilogy.
This is the 118th Rose Parade. The first Tournament of Roses was staged in 1890 by members of Pasadena’s Valley Hunt Club. In the next few years, the festival expanded to include marching bands and motorized games. In 1895, a Tournament of Roses Association was formed to take charge of the festival.
In 1902, the Tournament was enhanced by adding a football game, the first post season college football game ever held. In that first game, University of Michigan defeated Stanford University 49-0. Because of the rout, the football game was dropped in favor of chariot races. But in 1916, the football game came back for good. Eventually a stadium was built for the event. The stadium we know as the “Rose Bowl” hosted its first New Year’s football game in 1923.
This year’s Rose Bowl game, between the University of Michigan and University of Southern California, will kick off at 2 p.m. (PST), 4 p.m. CST.