PASADENA - Some dragged their feet, some rejoiced and others trailed behind a tow truck, but all the stars of the 124th annual Rose Parade finally made it across the parade's finish line Tuesday after a 5 1/2-mile trek through the streets of Pasadena.

Parade goers - many of whom were still shaking off a lack of sleep, the cold morning frost and even a few remnant tortillas from the previous night's New Year's Eve festivities - were numerous and lively, shouting "Happy New Year," "Good job" and "You made it" to the parade participants as they came to the end of the route.

Float riders and band members responded to the cheers from the crowd, and some of the bands, including those from Stanford University and the University of Wisconsin, finished strong with some impromptu dance moves as they turned the final corner.

"My favorite part was to hear everyone cheer us on, I felt like, `Oh, they like me,"' said Katie Lamar, 16, of the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band.

Most floats safely glided past the crowds of cheering viewers, and taller ones, like Kaiser Permanente's Dr. Seuss-themed float, participated in a game of limbo underneath the route's final traffic light.

But it wasn't smooth sailing for everyone. More than one float, such as Dole's "Dreaming of Paradise," got its top caught on the parade's final height hurdle, a low-hanging telephone wire.

Still others needed the help of a heavy duty tow truck to make it past the fences on Sierra Madre Boulevard and into the float viewing area.

In the end, though many had just marched, walked or rode on one of the longest parade routes around, this year's Rose Parade participants agreed that "it was worth it," if not only for the free In-N-Out meal the band members earned as a reward but also for their hard work.

"It was fun, but it was really hard," said Gabbie Mellie, 15, of West Virginia, who plays the tuba for the Morgantown High School Red and Blue Marching Band. "But I like that all the people back in Morgantown are saying how proud they are of us."

PCC band member Paul Salazar, 16, agreed that the experience was one he'll never forget.

"It's kind of on your bucket list if you're a musician," he said.

Jon Reeves, engineer for the city of Burbank's float, said he was just glad to get out of the cramped float cockpit without any major issues - personal or mechanical.

"The hard part is because you want to avoid any biological urges, shall we say, when I came here this morning I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since midnight last night," Reeves said.

But, he said, it is fun to look out the small peephole of the float and see the crowds applauding and enjoying his handiwork.

Yoh Nyoman rests after walking the parade route with the Indonesian float during the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA January 1, 2013.
Yoh Nyoman rests after walking the parade route with the Indonesian float during the 2013 Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA January 1, 2013. (Andy Holzman/Daily News Staff Photographer)

For Francisco Xavier De Melo, 48, a representative of India on the Aids Healthcare Foundation's "The Global Face of AIDS" float, riding on the float meant celebrating New Year's Day in a new and exciting way while also raising awareness for those like him that are living with HIV.

"It was millions of people coming together to celebrate New Year's Day," De Melo said. "All Americans coming together. ... It felt so good."

lauren.gold@sgvn.com, 626-657-0990