As tens of thousands rolled up their sleeping bags after a long night along Colorado Boulevard, several thousand more were just beginning to party, spreading elaborate buffets of food and drink outside the gates of the Rose Bowl.
"The sissies went up and watched the parade. The men stayed here and got ready for the ballgame, and the half-sissies went for half the parade," said George Corey, a Michigan alumnus hosting a tailgate party in the Rose Bowl parking lot, where his camper had been parked for several days. Corey, of San Francisco, was a Michigan running back in the mid-1950s.
Throughout the parking lots and across the adjacent golf course, tailgaters surrounded vans and cars marked by blue and maize or maroon and gold balloons. Some sprawled on blankets on the ground while others sat around tables complete with linen, flowers and candles. Some pulled sandwiches out of coolers and chips from bags, others grilled hamburgers or steaks and several served other hot dishes. Liquor, beer and champagne flowed freely while football fight songs drifted through the crowd.
Sun Devil fans were excited to be at Arizona State's first Rose Bowl game ever. "This is going to be an annual ritual," predicted Mike Griffith of Tempe. "We're going to park here; you might as well put a plaque on that tree."
He and about 25 of his friends clapped and sang as his host, Paul Mason of Glendale, Ariz., played the team's fight song on his kazoo. He played the same tune over his citizen's band radio on his trip to Los Angeles and over the microphone at a hotel bar.
"We left our mark from here to Phoenix," he said.
A group of Californians sported University of Michigan paraphernalia and declared their allegiance to the school--at least for this year's bowl game.
"We're definitely Michigan fans," said John McKennon Jr., general manager of the Industry Hills Sheraton Resort, which was hosting the party. "We were for Ohio State two years ago and Iowa last year." The Big Ten teams stay at the Industry Hills hotel during their Rose Bowl trips.
Brenda and Ira Jaffe of Farmington Hills, Mich., expected about 200 people at the elaborate tailgate party they and another couple hosted. The Jaffes throw a similar party before each game in Michigan. Ira Jaffe, who wears maize-and-blue patchwork corduroy pants to every game, spends half a day and about $1,500 preparing for such festivities, they said.
But the Jaffes don't harness their spirit just for the games, they live with it every day. Their doorbell plays the Michigan fight song and their basement is "like a museum" of the university and Wolverine paraphernalia, Brenda Jaffe said. "The rest of the house is very respectable," she added. They even have a chess set on which the Wolverines battle their archrivals, the Ohio State Buckeyes.
But come bowl time, most interconference rivalry seems to subside. Many Wolverine tailgaters were watching Ohio State play in the Cotton Bowl on portable televisions and even claimed to be rooting for the Buckeyes. Several Arizona State fans were watching their Pac 10 rival, USC, in the Citrus Bowl.
Tailgaters around the stadium were not the only ones partying in style. A private party was held inside a three-story tent pitched in a parking lot at Colorado Boulevard and Berkeley Avenue to view the Rose Parade. The party, attended by about 150 guests, featured valet parking, a full bar, linen-covered dining tables and 35 chefs and waiters serving a menu of Tahitian vanilla hot cakes, salads, smoked fish, tortes, fresh fruit and white-chocolate roses.
Workers began construction of the three-tiered scaffolding on Monday, and one-foot-high hedges, ficus trees, fresh flowers and other greenery were brought in Wednesday, said caterer Julie Loshin, president of Parties Plus. She would not give her client's name or the cost of the extravagant affair.
But for Don Karner, an Arizona State alumnus from Phoenix, tailgating around a well-stocked van is lavish enough. "It has a place where you can go to the bathroom--and, from what I can see, that's an advantage in Pasadena--and lots of booze. Beyond that, what else do you need?"