Close to 1,000 Rose Parade volunteers dubbed ‘white suiters’ donate time, energy to make sure things run smoothly at annual event


PASADENA, Calif. (KABC) — As you can imagine, there are hundreds of “moving parts” involved with putting on the annual Tournament of Roses Parade. Fans both in person and watching on television have come to appreciate the magic, tradition and attention to detail the event brings every year.

But what makes it all work so flawlessly? It’s all thanks to volunteers, who are dubbed “white suiters” because of their attire.

“I would call it a way for us to have a uniform presence, so we can tell each other in the crowd. I would call it a way for people to easily identify us in the crowd, and so that we can help people throughout the parade,” said Alex Aghajanian, president and chairman of the Board of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

He’s been part of the parade for 35 years. His daughter Lauren is also a white suiter. And he says the volunteers are the ones who keep the wheels turning. There are 935 of them! To be a part of the festivities, first you apply, pay dues, and then perform various assignments, whether it is preparation, to help with parade formation to handling overnight security of the floats to the post-parade exhibition.

“We spend about 80,000 volunteer hours putting on the parade each year,” said Aghajanian. “And the white suiters are very dedicated and they’re just a wonderful group of people.”

Alex McNulty is senior manager of member services and started wearing the white suit back in 2016. He showed us the closet in the primary bedroom of the Wrigley Mansion in Pasadena, also known as the tournament house – where volunteers can get suits if need be. He says after 135 years of tradition it’s the uniformity that makes it so special.

“I always noticed the little white suits on television. You’d see them zipping by on a scooter and I always thought ‘that was really neat,’ but I never thought or imagined that at one point in my time, I’d be so involved with it,” said McNulty.

“I think it’s just the pride in knowing that you’re part of this big organization, 935 members, that puts this whole parade and game on,” said Melissa Biunco Augustyn, Queen and Court Committee chair director.

Some basic requirements for becoming a white suiter are – you must be between the ages of 21 and 70 and live within 25 miles of Pasadena City Hall. You can find more information at

You can watch Rose Parade on ABC7 on Jan. 1. Coverage begins at 8 a.m.

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