2016 New Year’s Rose Parade Celebrates National Park Service Centennial

The theme for the 2016 Tournament of Roses Parade is “Find Your Adventure” and highlights the National Park Service Centennial with park-themed floats and equestrian unit.  There will also be a temporary “pop up” National Park for events surrounding the iconic New Year’s Day celebration.  Both the Tournament of Roses and the National Park Service aim to preserve history, connect people through real-life experiences and engage the public in new adventures.  Continue reading for more details on how the 2016 Rose Parade will encourage families to “find your adventure.”

2016 Rose Parade

From the National Parks Service Press Release

The theme for the Rose Parade, “Find Your Adventure,” honors the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. Parade float designers are encouraged to use America’s natural, cultural, and historical parks as inspiration. The Rose Parade will take place on January 1, 2016, in Pasadena, California, and will be followed by the 102nd Rose Bowl Game. The Rose Parade attracts millions of television viewers around the world.

The “pop up” national park will feature a mobile visitor center and interpretive programs for the public as part of the Decorating Places event December 27-31, and the Post-Parade Festival January 1- 3. Visitors can get their National Parks Passports imprinted with a special centennial cancellation stamp for the Rose Parade pop-up park, part of the popular Passport to Your National Parks program offered by Eastern National Association.

During the parade, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis will lead the National Park Service Equestrian Unit featuring agency employees, volunteers and partners. The equestrian unit will pay homage to America’s past with riders depicting the historic Buffalo Soldiers; the present with pack horses, mounted rangers, and U.S. Park Police; and the future with junior rangers who represent the next generation of park stewards.

“The Rose Parade is a great opportunity to invite millions of viewers, young and old from across the country, to celebrate with us as we kick off our centennial year,” said Jarvis. “And a pop-up national park is a first for the parade.”

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis stands with two park rangers. Image courtesy the National Park Service


National Park Service Deputy Director of Operations Peggy O’Dell will also participate in the parade on the Pasadena Tournament of Roses theme banner float, which leads the parade. O’Dell will be joined by junior rangers from across the country.

Jodie Petersen, a highly accomplished National Park Service landscape architect, was selected by the Tournament of Roses as one of three float judges during the parade. The judges will grant awards based on creative design, floral craftsmanship, artistic merit, computerized animation, thematic interpretation, floral and color presentation, and dramatic impact.

Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns, who has directed and produced some of the most admired documentaries about the history of the United States, was announced as the 2016 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal.  Ken Burns was the producer for the PBS television series THE NATIONAL PARKS: AMERICA’S BEST IDEA.

Ken Burns

Filmmaker Ken Burns, 2016 Tournament of Roses Grand Marshal, image courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses


The “Find Your Adventure” theme is a nod to “Find Your Park,” a two-year public engagement campaign of the National Park Service and National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. The campaign aims to increase awareness and excitement about the National Park Service’s Centennial celebration. The Rose Parade is just one of the ways the National Park Service will kick off a second century – which officially begins on August 25, 2016 – of protecting treasured places, telling America’s stories, and engaging all communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs.

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About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.