PASADENA (CBSLA.com) — Crowds lined the streets of Pasadena early Wednesday for a glimpse of the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade ahead of its annual procession down Colorado Boulevard.
An estimated 700,000 people were in attendance for the parade, which began shortly after 8 a.m.
Longtime Dodgers play-by-play announcer Vin Scully served as the Grand Marshal of the parade, and will also toss the kickoff coin before No. 5 Stanford takes on No. 4 Michigan State in the 100th Rose Bowl game, which is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m.
Parade watchers began lining the streets of Pasadena late Monday afternoon to grab a prime viewing spot for the 48 floats, 20 marching bands and 16 equestrian units that participated in this year's "Dreams Come True" theme.
Over two dozen floats were recognized among this year's crop, including Governor's Award for best depiction of life in California going to the city of Glendale for the "Let's Be Neighbors" float, and the Crown City Innovation Award for best use of imagination and innovation to advance float design going to Cal Poly Universities for "Bedtime Buccaneers".
The parade expected to draw its share of protesters over a controversial AIDS Healthcare Foundation float that featured the first same-sex marriage in the parade's history, but the 16 arrests made were PETA protestors attempting to stop the Seaworld float as they protested the treatment of Orcas.
"Animal cruelty has no place in the Rose Parade. At Seaworld parks, Orcas are confined to tiny, concrete tanks that are barely bigger than their body, and that's something to be mourned, not celebrated in a parade," PETA Spokesperson Ashley Palmer said.
Regardless of the negative attention, the float, titled "Sea of Surprise", was honored the President's Award for the most effective use of flowers.
"This year's float is designed to illustrate the wonder of sea life in a manner that can inspire millions to learn more about our oceans with is consistent with Seaworld's ongoing mission," read a statement from the Pasadena Tournament of Roses regarding Seaworld's float.
About 1,200 police officers were on duty throughout Pasadena, and visitors were urged to report any unattended bags or other suspicious activity.
For those who did not attend the parade and want to see the floats in person, all the floral masterpieces were put on display along Sierra Madre and Washington boulevards. They will be available to view for $10 a ticket Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. for senior citizens and disabled visitors.
(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)
for more features.