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Los Angeles Times Thursday, January 03, 2008 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
China float: An article and photo caption in Section A on Wednesday about the Rose Parade said a float celebrating the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing was co-sponsored by China. It was paid for by a coalition of Chinese American businesspeople and philanthropists and the Pasadena label maker Avery Dennison Corp. --- END OF CORRECTION ---
The 2008 Rose Parade trotted out Tuesday for its 119th New Year's Day incarnation, with brilliant flowers showcasing traditions as diverse as New Orleans' Mardi Gras, Mexico's Day of the Dead and a Japanese cherry blossom festival.
And with the year's theme celebrating the world's celebrations, life imitated art. One float depicted the Rose Parade itself, with past Rose queens onboard and a 20-foot rosebud coming to full bloom in an explosion of colorful streamers and confetti.
Another celebrated the grand buildings of Italy -- at least how they have been re-created in a new Las Vegas hotel, the Palazzo.
Under a pale sun, the grand marshal, New Orleans chef Emeril Lagasse, opened the parade with the trademark refrain from his Food Network television show: "Let's kick it up a notch. Bam!"
Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Pasadena and millions more watched on television from around the world. Marching bands came from Japan, El Salvador, Switzerland, Hawaii and Puerto Rico. Floats soared and spun with Bengal tigers, space aliens, Chinese dragons and Egyptian kings and queens.
One celebrated the Dodgers' 50th year in Los Angeles with a 35-foot player coming out of a grand slam swing and a dozen Dodger legends, including Tommy Lasorda, Steve Garvey and announcer Vin Scully, riding along. Another depicted Oktoberfest, with a smiling fraulein pouring beer into a patron's mug.
Aside from the elaborate floats, the venerable parade lived up to its most time-tested expectation: taunting icebound viewers with images of balmy skies.
The morning sun glinted off granite San Gabriel Mountain peaks. And high winds experienced in some parts of the Southland left the parade route untouched, sparing the world a glimpse of one of Southern California's most storied quirks, the Santa Anas.
The parade also lived up to another tradition: avoiding controversy.
Protesters who had been threatening to block a float promoting the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games went largely unnoticed -- except by those standing behind the protesters' waving signs.
"Human rights are a big violation in China," said Katie Schwarzenbach, born and raised in Pasadena. "But my rights are being violated here in Pasadena. They're blocking my view. It's not appropriate."
Other protesters calling for an end to the war in Iraq and for President Bush's impeachment also walked the parade route, but after the floats and bands had passed.
Police reported one arrest of a protester who walked into the parade. Andrew Koenig , 39, was given a citation for disrupting a public event, a police official said.
Human rights activists said the Beijing Olympics float, co-sponsored by the People's Republic of China, was a propaganda tool for a government that sanctions imprisonment and torture of its opponents.
"I went around reminding people they are American and not to forget what you stand for," said protester Kai Chen, 54, of Los Angeles, passing out T-shirts equating the Olympics to the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.