A Trip of a Lifetime!

Guest Blog by Jennifer Palmer, President of the Albertville Chamber of Commerce Posted on Wednesday, 14 February 2018.

A Trip of a Lifetime!

Wow! I had the trip of a lifetime between Christmas and New Year's traveling to Pasadena, California, to watch the Albertville Aggie High School Band march in the Rose Parade festivities.  My daughter is on the Color Guard, and, yes, I am a proud momma.

Now, when most people think of the Rose Parade, they normally just think about the parade itself, but there is so much more to the experience.  A few days before the parade, all the bands participate in "Band Fest" at Pasadena City College.  Over a two-day period, all bands marching in the Rose Parade perform their full half time show in front of sold-out stands.   After each band’s show, the band in parade formation marches past the review committee and the stadium crowd for parade review.   Just watching this was exciting, but the fun was constant as we met parents and fans from Texas, Utah, Missouri, and even Panama, and cheered for each other’s bands.

Another highlight of the trip was touring the float prep site where thousands of volunteers work around the clock putting live flowers and organic material on the floats.  OH MY GOODNESS!  The colors and fragrance cannot be put into words...aisles and aisles of buckets and buckets of orchids, roses, daisies, lilies, carnations, birds of paradise, etc., etc.   Some workers pulled seeds out of flowers with tweezers; others snipped of the heads of flowers to glue to the forms while artists arranged huge orchids.   We watched as a dragon came to life, flowers created movement on a fish, roses festooned antique cars, and so much more.

Then, on January 1st, the main event of the trip... The Rose Parade Sponsored by Honda.  Before dawn we made our way to our seats in the grand stands on Colorado Blvd, part of the five-mile parade route.  As the sun came up, the energy started to pick up along with the crowd.  Then we watched as the Goodyear blimp appeared overhead and military jets saluted.  The main event, this parade of parades, began with more flowers, bands, and beautiful horses than I had ever seen.  Floats that we had seen earlier only in pieces were now complete with dragons, whales, fish, gardens that swayed with flowers, flowers, and more flowers. The size, color, and movement created in a short period of time resulted in a lush two-hour spectacular display worthy of the name, the Rose Parade. 

However, the long-awaited event for me was entry number 18, the Albertville High School Aggie Band.  The large Albertville sign led the band with directors, Chris Lindley and Taylor Cash, at the front.  The dance line sparkled in their silver and red costumes, followed by the band in their red and black uniforms with black plumes in their hats as they played “Can’t Stop the Feeling” by Justin Timberlake and “Celebration” by Cool and the Gang.`      The tubas wore Rose Parade covers, and the bass drums displayed the parade theme…trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, trombones, and more…280+ marching.  The color guard followed in the back of the band with their flowing red sequined and chiffon gowns and red rose flags.  What a show!   What a sound!   They made our town, state, and South proud.

Okay, confession time.  When my daughter marched by, I gave a big shout—well, more than a big shout--you know, the kind of yell that embarrasses your kids.   Then all the fans around us joined in yelling her name as well.  Finally, she flashed a big smile.   My lifetime trip was complete.

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