Visiting Preston for the 2012 Guild in the summer, I was surprised by the difference between parades in the States – my now home – compared to my hometown of Preston.Advertisement
First a little about the history of the Rose Parade in my neck of the woods, California. This uniquely American event began as a promotional effort by Pasadena’s distinguished Valley Hunt Club. In the winter of 1890, the club members brainstormed ways to promote the “Mediterranean of the West.”
They invited their former East Coast neighbors to a mid-winter holiday, where they could watch games such as chariot races, jousting, foot races, polo and tug-of-war under the warm California sun. The abundance of fresh flowers, even in the midst of winter, prompted the club to add another showcase for Pasadena’s charm: a parade would precede the competition, where entrants would decorate their carriages with hundreds of blooms. The Tournament of Roses was born.
I live in Pomona, California, Pasadena is thirty miles west of us just north of Los Angeles so I have been to a few Rose Bowl parades, stunningly beautiful floats decorated entirely with petals, seeds, fruits, grasses, leaves, practically anything and everything that grows on this little planet of ours. The work that goes into not just the mechanical part of the floats but the decorating is spectacular and done mostly by volunteers with I’m sure some professional help. The results are a sight to behold as you can see below nand on the Pasadena Star-News.
Considering that those floats are created every year I often wonder why, at Preston Guild’s which only occurs every twenty years, (I’ve witnesses four of them), why can’t Preston be more creative with their floats. Looking Blog Preston’s photos of the Trades procession, and even my own photo’s, they certainly pale in comparison to the Rose Bowl floats.
Although I have documented my photo’s of the Trades Procession and the Torch Light Procession on the internet, I would never consider showing those photos to my American friends who I’m sure would wonder why I travel the 6,000 miles back to Preston to see that. I even wonder myself.
I know you’re going to say it’s a matter of cost and you may well be correct, but surely with twenty years to prepare for the next Guild, surely something a bit more creative than a big lorry with a few trimmings and a few dressed up workers is possible….what do you think ?
David Hughlock is a Prestonian who left it all behind in 1964 for the bright lights and sunshine of California. He grew up on the Callon estate and decided to join his brothers in the States.