During the first days of January I worked at the Rose Parade’s Post Parade Park in Pasadena. As one of Tournament of Roses volunteer members I help bring this great event to fruition. This year I was curious if the attendance will be higher than last year and if vendor sales increase accordingly.
Tournament of Roses organizes the Rose Parade and the Rose Bowl’s Game. Both are events with national and international significance and attract great number of out of town visitors. The Parade and the New Year’s game are major economic drivers for the area. They bring estimated $200,000,000 to Los Angeles and Pasadena.
This year is special because of BCS National Championship Game. Many fans of Alabama and Texas teams are spending extra days in Southern California. In addition, low temperatures and bad weather in other parts of the country contributed to the extended stay of many.
The Post Parade Park is where all floats are parked after the parade ends. In addition to static displays there are life and animated shows. The entry fee is $7 per adult, children are admitted at reduced price or free, depending on age. Inside the park there are three food courts, mobile food and refreshment carts and souvenir vendors.
As a volunteer member of the Tournament of Roses visitors approach me with questions or just to have a small talk. Vast majority of people like the floats and enjoy the warm weather. Comparing with last year the attendance increased with over 16%.
Yet, I noticed that the food courts are not as busy as in 2009. The cart vendors do not enjoy long lines. But, I saw families bringing picnic, setting up their blankets and consuming food and drinks from their coolers.
At the end, I asked food and souvenir vendors how are sales comparing to last year’s. According to them sales are 25% to 35% lower.
We had a very well attended event complimented by a spectacular January weather and four out of town teams playing on the Rose Bowl. However, people spent less. The situation where 16% increase in attendance leads to 25% to 35% decrease in sales is a good sign about the current state of the economy. The post parade viewing of the floats shows that demand for affordable family entertainment is on a rise.