Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger — the pilot from Danville who landed a stricken jetliner on New York's Hudson River — led the 121st annual spectacle, themed "A Cut Above the Rest." He was accompanied by his wife, Lorrie.
Onlookers gasped when Honda's three-masted sailing ship float boomed and shot sparklers and smoke rings out of its cannon, right at the bleachers. A float celebrating Mexico's bicentennial featured Mexico City's landmark Angel of Independence and an intricate flower Aztec calendar, as well as dancers costumed in traditional regional dresses.
A swarm of children on in-line skates with butterfly wings also got a round of applause as they twirled in front of a float depicting the city of Shanghai.
The Kansai Honor Band from Japan rallied the crowd with "Thriller" dance moves and a color guard in kimonos with teased hair.
Thousands of people staked their claims to sidewalk space along Pasadena's Colorado Boulevard and other stretches of the route early Friday, bringing sleeping bags, lawn chairs and party favors. They spent the night under the light of a rare blue moon — the second full moon in a month.
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