The parade kicked off at 8 a.m. Themed "Oh, the Places You'll Go!," the annual procession included 42 floral floats, 23 marching bands and 21 equestrian units. Famed chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall served as this year's grand marshal.
Tournament of Roses President Sally Bixby said the theme was chosen with Goodall in mind.
"The theme can be interpreted as a celebration of accomplishment, discovery and travel of course, but equally valid is its implicit call to action," Bixby said. "We think Dr. Goodall's life story is a testament to the sense of adventure and openness to possibility that this phrase suggests. As a young woman, she defied convention to follow her dreams, and she has committed herself to a life of global citizenship, inspiring children and adults alike along the way."
Goodall, 78, is a lifelong advocate for the protection of endangered species.
"New Year's Day symbolizes the opportunity to work toward new goals, experience new beginnings and make a difference," Goodall said. "My dream for this New Year's Day is for everyone to think of the places we can all go if we work together to make our world a better place.
Crowds braved the frigid temperatures overnight for a front-row seat. Up to 1 million spectators were expected for the parade.
With that many people, public safety remained priority No. 1 for police. There have been 21 arrests among the people gathered along the parade route since 6 p.m. Monday, according Lt. Pete Hettema of the Pasadena Police Department. Twenty arrests were for public intoxication and one arrest was for possession of burglary tools, Hettema said. The tools could have been used to break into cars.
The parade started near Orange Grove Boulevard and Ellis Street, then moved east along Colorado Boulevard and north on Sierra Madre Boulevard. After the parade, spectators are offered an up-close look at the floats, which are parked along Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards in Pasadena. To get more information about the post-parade viewing event, visit www.tournamentofroses.com.
Several freeway ramps are shut down because of the Rose Parade.
The Del Mar ramps and California on-ramp on the 710 Freeway will be closed until 1 p.m. Tuesday. From 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Orange Grove ramps will be closed on the 134 Freeway. On the 210 Freeway, the Sierra Madre Boulevard ramps will be closed.
Pasadena has set up a hotline to help parade-goers. The special toll-free visitor hotline is (877) 793-9911 and will operate Dec. 28 to Jan. 2, 2013.
City News Service contributed to this report.