Tournament of Roses Rose Parade

Are you ready for some football? Or are you more a marching band kind of fan?

Bowl season isn't just about football, it's about parades – or at least some of the games are. Of the 40 bowl games that will be played in December and January, seven feature parades as complements – or in the case of the Rose Parade, the other way around – to the gridiron. The most famous of the parades is the aforementioned Rose Parade, but the Citrus Parade features floats made of, yep, you guessed it, citrus products, while the Holiday Bowl Parade is reminiscent of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, with giant balloon characters floating alongside the harbor.

Among the bowls featuring parades are the two hosting this year's College Football Playoff semifinal games – the Peach Bowl in Orlando and the Fiesta Bowl in Phoenix. So, if you need a break from football, go see a parade. All are free (though grandstand seating can be had for a fee). Below is a look at all seven parades, in order of date of the bowl game.

Port Of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

SanDiegoBowlGames.com Port Of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade

Billed as "America's Largest Balloon Parade," it features 20 absolutely gigantic balloons, wrangled by teams of volunteers alongside the picturesque setting San Diego's harbor. Mother Goose and Garfield are among the balloons that appear annually, but the parade evolves and also features marching bands and dance troupes. Grandstand tickets are available for $20, but even with 100,000 spectators annually, there are plenty of spots available free along the route, particularly right at the harbor. The parade is televised locally on Channel 4.
When/Where: December 27, 10 a.m. PT in downtown San Diego.
Football Game: Minnesota vs. Washington State, December 27, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN (Qualcomm Stadium).

Sun Bowl Parade

SunBowl.org Sun Bowl Parade

Held more than a month before the bowl game, the Sun Bowl Parade is a Thanksgiving tradition in El Paso and embraces the city's location alongside the Mexican border. The parade has 100 elements ranging from giant balloons to bands to clowns to drum and bugle teams from Mexico. The theme was for 2016 edition was "80 Years Around the World" and featured floats depicting everything from a space shuttle to a giant lion. Santa and Ronald McDonald were also in attendance.
When/Where: November 24.
Football Game: No. 18 Stanford vs. North Carolina, December 30, 2 p.m. ET on CBS (Sun Bowl Stadium).

Florida Citrus Parade

FloridaCitrusSports.com Florida Citrus Parade

Among the shortest of the bowl-game parades, the Florida Citrus Parade is only 1.4 miles and makes a "U" through downtown Orlando. The colorful (and good-smelling) parade features, yep, floats made out of citrus fruit, which, like the Rose Parade, are definitely worth inspecting close-up after the parade has finished. It is stunning what float-makers can do with oranges, grapefruits, limes and lemons. Bleacher seating is available for $29 and parking is free in most spots. The parade is televised in 100 markets across the U.S.
When/Where: December 29, 11 a.m. ET, downtown Orlando.
Football Game: No. 20 LSU vs. No. 13 Louisville, December 31, 11 a.m. ET on ABC (Camping World Stadium).

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade

ExploreGeorgia.org Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Parade

With 60 floats, the real draw for the Peach Bowl Parade is the collection of antique cars that roll through downtown Atlanta. The cars are mixed in with the standard fare of big parades – high school and college marching bands (including Alabama and Washington), dance teams, floats and cheerleaders.
When/Where: December 31 at 9 a.m. ET in Atlanta.
Football Game: No. 4 Washington vs. No. 1 Alabama in national semifinal on December 31, 3 p.m. ET on ESPN (Georgia Dome).

Fiesta Bowl Parade

FiestaBowl.org Fiesta Bowl Parade

The National Bank of Arizona Fiesta Bowl parade is as much a spectacle as the annual game. In its 46th year, the parade features giant balloons as well as colorful floats, horses and marching bands, including those from Ohio State and Clemson. Held in central Phoenix, the parade is televised locally on 3TV. While standing-room spots along the parade route are free, fans can purchase bleacher seating and parking online.
When/Where: December 31 at 10 a.m. PT in central Phoenix.
Football Game: No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 3 Clemson in national semifinal on December 31, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN (University of Phoenix Stadium).

Rose Bowl

VisitPasadena.com Rose Bowl

Known as "The Granddaddy of Them All," the Rose Parade is the only bowl-related parade to predate the football game. The Rose Parade began in 1893, but the football game didn't start until 1902. In keeping with tradition, the parade is held annually on New Year's Day, though never on a Sunday (original organizers felt Sundays were meant for worship and that the horses tied up outside local churches might spook at the parade). The Rose Parade features floats intricately made of flower petals – most often roses – and parade goers can get up-close-and-personal with the floats after the parade. The exceptionally long parade route – 5 ½ miles – winds through historic Pasadena. Olympians Janet Evans, Allyson Felix and Greg Louganis will serve as Grand Marshals. The parade is free, but grandstand seating is available to purchase and can up to nearly $100 per seat. Parking is a challenge. The Rose Parade is nationally televised by multiple outlets, including ABC and NBC.
When/Where: January 2 at 8 a.m. PT, Pasadena.
Football Game: No. 9 USC vs. No. 5 Penn State, January 2, 5 p.m. ET on ESPN (Rose Bowl).

Outback Bowl New Year's Eve Parade

OutbackBowl.com Outback Bowl New Year's Eve Parade

One of three parades held at least a few days before the bowl game, the Outback Bowl's New Year's Eve parade is your typical parade – filled with about 20 high school and college marching bands, including one from each participating team, dance teams, floats and crazy characters. The parade is held in Ybor City, Tampa's historic district, which is just north of downtown.
When/Where: Dec. 31, 5:30 p.m., Ybor City
Football Game: Jan. 2, 1 p.m., ESPN (Raymond James Stadium, Tampa) No. 17 Florida vs. Iowa

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