PASADENA, Calif. – Dean Hanson was a happy camper after the annual scramble for curbside seats for the Tournament of Roses Parade.
When police allowed people to claim seats at noon Thursday, the 66-year-old Northern California man and his wife Gwen took chairs off the top of their motorhome and secured primo front-row spots.
Police said they didn't have a crowd count, but thousands of people clutching sleeping bags, lawn chairs and party favors staked their claims to sidewalk space along Colorado Boulevard and other stretches of the route.
The theme of the 121st parade is "A Cut Above the Rest," and the grand marshal is Chesley Sullenberger, the pilot who landed a stricken jetliner on New York's Hudson River.
Hanson, born in Pasadena, has been to 59 rose parades, starting when he was 6 months old. His dad owned a business along Colorado Boulevard and was a tournament volunteer.
Hanson can provide a living history of the famed New Year's Day procession.
"We saw both major rainstorms, a hotel fire, a parade float fire," he said. "There isn't much we haven't seen."
Hanson moved to Fremont in the San Francisco Bay area when he got married 44 years ago. Annual trips to Pasadena became a family tradition. His three kids and their families come when they can.
Even the family's 10-year-old Yorkie, Woody, has been to the parade 10 times.
One year, Hanson and his wife were sick, so they stayed home.
"That was horrible," he said.
This year, the family will meet as many as 40 friends and relatives. They never know just how many are coming.
The National Weather Service predicts sunny weather for the parade and Rose Bowl game pitting Oregon against Ohio State.
Hanson said the parade is his favorite part of the event, but it's hard to choose a favorite part of the parade. He likes the floats, the equestrian units and the bands.
"In fact, we picked this spot specifically because all the bands play here," he said.