2021 Rose Parade Canceled Due to COVID-19

Rose Parade
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

The annual New Year's Day event has only been canceled three other times since 1891.

The Rose Parade will not go on in 2021. On Wednesday, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association announced that it has canceled next year's New Year's Day event due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This marks only the fourth time in the parade's more than 100-year history that it has been canceled. It did not take place during the wartime years of 1942, 1943 and 1945.

"With tremendous disappointment, we are unable to host the 2021 #RoseParade," the association wrote on Twitter. "We will miss the joy of coming together for the Rose Parade, but will not miss this opportunity to celebrate a New Year & healthy new beginnings on January 1."

In a lengthier statement on the association's website, they said the decision was made after they commissioned a feasibility and safety report, which determined the annual parade could not be held safely.

"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," Bob Miller, 2021 President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, said. "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 the 132nd Rose Parade."

Though the decision may appear to be an early one to some, planning for the parade 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,” David Eads, Executive Director/CEO, said. "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."

"We all know what the Rose Parade means to us here in Pasadena, as well as to New Year celebrations around the world," Pasadena Mayor Terry Tornek added. "To know that we won’t get to experience this great tradition on January 1, 2021, is extremely disappointing. However, we also know that we must act responsibly to protect our community in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic." 

Though the parade will not take place, some sort of reimagined New Year's celebration will.

"I know that I speak on behalf of our 935 volunteer members, and the hundreds of thousands in our community for which the Rose Parade is an annual tradition, when I say we will miss the joy of coming together and the making of memories," Miller said. "But know that we will not miss this opportunity to celebrate a New Year and healthy new beginnings on January 1, 2021."

"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 agreed. "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."

Mayor Tornek said he looks forward "to working with the Pasadena Tournament of Roses on their reimagined New Year celebration, as well as the return of the Rose Parade on January 1, 2022."

In addition to the annual parade, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association also hosts the Rose Bowl Game each Jan. 1. At this point, planning is still ongoing for the college football semifinal game.

"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. "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."