The Rose Parade, an annual New Year’s Day tradition, has been canceled for the first time in 75 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, organizers will air a news two-hour Tournament of Roses TV special, to benefit a charitable cause.

The parade has been a New Year’s Day celebration in Pasadena since 1891 and has not been canceled since World War II. The traditions of having decorated floats, marching bands, and tournament entries that participate in the march down Colorado Boulevard has brought excitement to each new year. This year, however, the usual crowd of spectators won’t be allowed to be at the parade in person.

This year the Pasadena Tournament of Roses organization has decided to present a two-hour TV entertainment special on New Year’s Day that will be broadcast around the world. The special will feature live-to-tape music, marching band performances, celebrity appearances, highlights from past Rose Bowl games, floats from years past and a behind-the-scenes look into how the floats were made.

“We are beyond excited about the upcoming New Year’s Day television special and the unique opportunity it gives us to not only entertain our worldwide audience in new dynamic ways but to honor the Rose Parade’s 130-year tradition, said David Eads, the executive director and CEO of the Tournament of Roses.

The Tournament of Roses has partnered with Feeding America for this year’s parade. The organization is one of the largest to help fight domestic hunger through a nationwide network of food banks assisting individuals who are struggling with food insecurity. Each year, Feeding America has about 200 food banks and about 60,000 food pantries that help provide food services for individuals in need.

“Food insecurity has been a focus of our organization’s efforts during the pandemic, so it was only fitting that we extend our commitment to our reimagined New Year celebration, said Bob Miller, president of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “We are proud to work with Feeding America, an organization that is working hard to change lives in communities across the country.”

Since the pandemic started in March, food banks have distributed tons more food than usual. From March to June, food banks nationwide have distributed 1.9 billion meals to people who face hunger in the United States. In the month of March alone, food banks distributed 20 percent more food than an average month. There has been a huge increase in the number of people visiting food banks during this time because of the amount of unemployment. During the pandemic, a lot of people have lost their jobs and haven’t been able to put food on the table.

“Food banks are feeding an average of 60% more people due to the pandemic’s economic effects,” said Clarie Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America. “We are deeply grateful to the Tournament of Roses for helping to raise awareness and support for people facing hunger.”

The two-hour Rose Parade special will be aired on multiple channels, including ABC, NBC KTLA and Univision Jan. 1 at 8 a.m.


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