Rose Parade 2021 canceled due to COVID-19, first time canceled since WWII

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 01: A general view of atmosphere and floats at the 2018 Tournament of Roses Parade presented by Honda on January 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic)

The 2021 Rose Parade has been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Wednesday.

“The health and well-being of our parade participants and guests, as well as that of our volunteer members, professional staff and partners, is our number one priority,” said Bob Miller, 2021 President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. “Obviously this is not what any of us wanted, and we held off on announcing until we were absolutely sure that safety restrictions would prevent us from continuing with planning for 132nd Rose Parade.”

The decision comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom rolled back on California's COVID-19 reopening plan.

Millions from around the world attend the beloved Pasadena tradition each year, which is held each January 1 in celebration of the New Year.

This is just the fourth time since its inception in 1891 that the parade has been canceled, with the three previous cancellations occurring during the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.

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While the parade itself is more than five months from now, the preparation for such a large event typically begins in February.

“In addition to the advance planning required by our band and equestrian units, the construction of our floats takes many months and typically requires thousands of volunteers to gather in ways that aren’t in compliance with safety recommendations and won’t be safe in the coming months,” said David Eads, Executive Director/CEO. “While we are extremely disappointed that we are unable to host the parade, we believe that not doing so will prevent the spread of COVID-19, as well as protect the legacy of the Rose Parade for generations to come.”

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Eads said planning is continuing for the Rose Bowl Game, but uncertainty still looms over the college football season.

"We continue to work with the College Football Playoff and our collegiate partners to explore what this year's college football season will look like amidst COVID-19 and social distancing guidelines," Eads said in a statement. "While the safety and well being of the student-athletes, university personnel and fans is our top priority, we remain hopeful that the 'Granddaddy of Them All' will take place on New Year's Day."

Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek called the decision "extremely disappointing."

Although the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association will not be hosting its 132nd Rose Parade, they will celebrate the New Year on January 1, 2021. Officials said they are working to develop plans for a "new kind of New Year celebration" for fans of the annual parade.

“Each year, the country turns its eyes to Pasadena for America’s New Year celebration and we plan to deliver on that important promise,” Eads said. “We may not be able to host our traditional five-mile march down Colorado Boulevard, but we are exploring new and safe ways we can collectively share in the celebration, and we look forward to announcing further details about our exciting new plans in the coming weeks.”

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