By Amanda Huffman
Contributing Writer

Watching the Rose Parade on TV is a fun New Year’s tradition in my family. If you live in Southern California, not only do you have the opportunity to visit Pasadena and watch the parade in person, but you can also visit and see the floats as they are being built and after the parade is over. 

In past years, my family has attended both of these events and we decided to go back this year to see the floats after the Rose Parade was over. And while I expected it to be fun to see the floats, it was truly remarkable to observe the level of detail and creativity that goes into each of them. 

If you are in the LA area, I highly recommend going to watch the process of the floats being created. A few days before the parade you can park in the Rose Bowl parking lot and watch the volunteers in action as they build these amazing floats. 

The best place to get information on how to view the floats before and after the parade is at the Float Fest website

Seeing the floats up close is so much fun and you get to admire the detailed work that goes into each display. It was also fun to see hummingbirds and bees enjoying the flowers on display. 

There is an opportunity to see the floats in the afternoon the day of the parade and the day after the parade. If you go view them the day of the parade, be sure to plan for delays and crowds. I highly recommend attending on the second day, and the earlier the better. We parked at Pasadena City College and then took the bus transportation provided, both free of charge. We had no issues with parking or getting on and off the shuttle. 

Seeing the incredible work and creativity was neat. I was so inspired by the various ways they used the different fruits, vegetables, rice, flowers and other natural materials. 

It was also cool to see floats from all over the country.  Local cities participate every year and there are floats from Louisiana, Florida, Illinois, and other states. 

Another fun thing to see was the way that different floats designed the same thing. This year, there  were flamingos and turtles on many of the floats, yet they were all made in different ways from a variety of natural materials. 

It was also fun to see the different flower displays, which were all just beautiful. 

And just seeing the floats that were built was incredible and a thing to enjoy as a family.

When you’re a military family, there are a lot of challenges this lifestyle can bring you, but also some interesting opportunities. Always try to take them wherever you find them and enjoy the unique aspects of the place you live. It can become a great and lasting memory for you.

Amanda is a military veteran who served in the Air Force for six years as a Civil Engineer who served on a combat deployment with the Army in Afghanistan. She traded in her combat boots for a diaper bag to stay home with her two boys and follow her husband’s military career in the Space Force. Amanda is the host of the Women of the Military podcast. There she shares the stories of women who have served or are serving in the military. The podcast has over 200 episodes and over 100K downloads. Amanda is also an author and has published two books. Her first book, Women of the Military tells the stories of 28 military women who served in the military. Her second book, A Girl’s Guide to Military Serviceis the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Winner for Teen Non Fiction. It is a guide for high school girls considering military service to help them build a strong foundation for their future career. She also works as a freelance writer and has been featured in a number of military publications including The War, Military Families Magazine, Clearance Jobs, Military Spouse Magazine, and more. 

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