"We're very excited; my wife wants to get it off her bucket list," said Tom Anderson, who was buying three hot dogs at 7 a.m. "That's how she said it, too."
The Andersons made the trip with their son Tom, his wife Cathy and their 8-year-old granddaughter Savannah specifically to see the parade but they managed to do some sight-seeing, including a visit to the Huntington Library.
The petite woman who busily grilled and sold the pork hot dogs to Anderson on Pasadena Avenue north of Colorado Boulevard was Raquel Pelaez.
Pelaez, 40, tried to get a permit but the city would not give her one, she said, because of the type of food she was grilling.
"I'm going to wait, to see if they take it away or not," Pelaez, a mother of three who lives in Los Angeles, said after selling about 25 hot dogs. "I have to work so I can pay my bills, my rent, food for my children, their clothes."
Around the corner on Colorado Boulevard, Casey Bryant of Peggs, Okla., was carrying a large sign that read "Jesus Caused 9-11" on one side and "God kills, Repent" on the other.
Bryant, 30, comes to Pasadena each year with friends to spread his church's message before the start of the Rose Parade.
"The real God of the Bible is a very scary and terrifying God, a God who not only loves and died for the world for their sins but also causes calamity," he said, as security officers asked him and his three friends to keep walking down the boulevard.
While it would be great to help save a few souls from hell, he said, "our goal is just to serve the Lord" and preach His word.
During the parade, South Pasadena residents Sajan Kashyap and his wife Cheenu bumped into their friends Liz and Art Brox, also of South Pasadena, on the sidewalk of Orange Grove Boulevard north of Del Mar.
The two couples were chatting enthusiastically while enjoying the elaborate floats and impressive marching bands that paraded by.
"It's a very uplifting feeling when you see these people young and old, it makes you feel proud to be in this wonderful community," Kashyap, an attorney, said. "The faces of children, even news reporters are smiling today."
Evan Strand, 24, of Pasadena enjoyed viewing the parade on stilts, which allowed him to tower over other spectators - including his tall father - on Orange Grove Boulevard.
Strand, a professional ballet dancer, had been visiting with a friend in San Francisco before he made the six-hour drive to make it home in time for the parade. He's attended the Rose Parade nearly every year since he was born and this was his fourth year attending on stilts, he said.
"It's fun," Strand said. "People look at me when I'm up here and they're looking up wondering how I'm this tall ... From the parade, they can't see the stilts."
The Rose Queen and court had an unexpected escort for a 100-foot stretch of the Rose Parade route on Tuesday, as a man and his three mules abruptly walked onto Colorado Boulevard.
He said his name was Mule. He wore a tattered jacket held together by duct tape. His three mules carried all of Mule's belongings in packs slung across their backs. They didn't have names, according to their owner.
"They're just mules," said Mule, who was promoting his website 3mules.com.
But the quartet had a purpose.
"You got all this glitz and nice presentation, but when you look at us people on the ground, we are dirty, we smell, but we are real," Mule said. "We just wanted to bring something real to the parade."
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies escorted Mule and his mules off the route. Sheriff's officials said they didn't plan to arrest Mule.
Staff Writer Brian Charles contributed to this report.