By Mary O’KEEFE
As kickoff for the Rose Bowl game drew near, the Tournament of Roses and Rose Bowl Stadium staff were dealing with a lot of different issues including a few surprises from Mother Nature.
At 2 p.m. Dec. 31, the Fan Fest event at the Rose Bowl was the site of an “erratic wind event” swirling tents into the air, more reminiscent of Dorothy’s Kansas than Pasadena.
“It was totally unexpected,” said Lisa Derderian, spokeswoman for Pasadena Fire Dept. “There were about 20 people inside the canopies. Four adults had minor injuries.”
All four adults were vendors; one of the adults took himself to the hospital as a precaution, Derderian said.
Pasadena police and fire were at Fan Fest and responded immediately.
“The weather service called it a dust devil,” Derderian said.
The wind was not the only challenge that the staff had been dealing with while getting ready for the game. Rain was anticipated.
“The wind caught us by surprise,” said Kevin Ash, chief administrative officer for the Rose Bowl game. “We gather every day and have staff meetings and game management meetings to talk about what went well during the day and what did not go well.”
The staff also keeps a close eye on the weather and acts accordingly especially when it comes to the field. The painting of the field was moved up this year to give it more time to dry.
“When the rains came [on Dec. 30] we had to tarp [the field],” he said. “Then [on Dec. 31] there was frost.”
The staff had to wait for the frost to melt naturally, and then take the tarps off the field. Frost can burn grass and no one wants to see a brown footprint on the football field.
“We are on schedule and doing quite well,” Ash said on game day. “I think we are in great shape.”
They were indeed and the game went off without a hitch. To kick off the game, a B2 bomber flew directly over the stadium, eliciting cheers from the audience. Oregon beat Florida State 59-20, and the crowd was wild with excitement.