Roseville's moment in the (television) sun

By: Nathan Donato-Weinstein |
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Roseville’s moment in the sun came at precisely 9:22 a.m. That’s when the city’s entry into the 120th annual Tournament of Roses Parade ambled past NBC television cameras, its train engine belching out steam and assembled float riders waving from inside a 1909-replica passenger car. And the 1 minute 22 seconds the peacock network bestowed upon Roseville was generous. “ALL ABOARD!” host and legendary weatherman Al Roker screamed at the sight of the train-and-tree themed entry. “WOW!” he said as the float started belching out steam. There was the description of the city as “unique” and “situated at the base of the Sierra Nevada mountains.” NBC co-host Nancy O’Dell crowed about this being the city’s first entry, and “already” the city winning an award. As announced earlier that morning, it took the Governor’s Trophy for “best depiction of life in California” – no small feat, as other California cities represented included Anaheim, Long Beach and Huntington Beach, to name a few. A mention was given to the city’s centennial, that the float was “kicking off a yearlong celebration of dreams and opportunities,” as NBC co-host Nancy O’Dell put it. “It really does conjure up nostalgia and romance,” Roker said. And there were the float riders, stationed in two vintage Pullman passenger cars, wearing little train outfits and waving furiously to the camera side of the street as Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” blared. Somewhere on there was Margaret Huntley Main, the oldest living rose queen, who city officials found living up the hill in Auburn and invited to ride on the float. Roseville city councilman John Allard was the most visible, seemingly half his body sticking out of his window at the rear of the car. He could be seen mouthing the hit’s lyrics. The NBC coverage wasn’t completely without oddities. For some reason, Roker started saying something about ridership on Amtrak increasing across the country. But that was better than the national feed of ABC, the other big station covering the Pasadena parade. It broke for a commercial at No. 58 – the Sesame Street-themed entry from the International Music Products Association – and rejoined at No. 63, an entry from FTD florist. No Roseville, except for a quick shot of the train at the end, while the credits rolled. Huh? Other reports from viewers tuning into stations including HGTV and Univision suggest nice mentions of the Roseville entry. One source in Southern California reports local CW affiliate KTLA hosts Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks nearly gushing over the float while reading off a laundry list of Roseville factoids. City officials have talked about the entry being a big marketing boost, and that could well be. But the entry is about more than minutes of television coverage, of course. It’s about recognizing accomplishments, marking a milestone, and having a little fun during times few people would call “fun.” A celebration. Back on NBC, at around 9:24 a.m., Roker moved on. “Well,” he said. “From the McQueen High School band in Reno, Nevada...” Updated 2:30 p.m. Jan. 1