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Photo by Kim Bishop, Xo Enquire Photography courtesy of the Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Dec. 31, 2021 (East County) Start the New Year by watching and celebrating the Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society’s TV appearance at the 133rd edition of the Tournament of Roses 2022 Parade in Pasadena.

The 23-member equestrian group will participate, for their sixth time, with 15 members participating using three carriages and four horses.

“The first year, coming around the corner of the parade start and the incredible feeling of all the love and joy in the air, brought tears to my eyes,” said founder, chairperson of the board, and president Deana Sommerville. Other original founders are Leanna Chessmore and Dyan Paquette.

All of the members are East County residents.

The Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society is a re-enactment group that participates in events and parades, raising money for charity, according to their website. The group symbolizes the romance of the 1880s, or the Victorian Era, in the colorful costumes they wear.

“We came up with our group concept while sitting under a tree,” said Sommerville. “From that time frame (1880s) the idea of one-of-a-kind dresses in rose colors, parasols, carriages, and horses and have all the ladies use rose names.”

“Members make the dresses or have them commissioned out,” continued Sommerville. “They are all one-of-a-kind and designed by each of the ladies.”

Photo - right - courtesy of the Victorian Roses Ladies Riding Society

“We stay for a week of activities at the LAEC (Los Angeles Equine Center),” explained Sommerville. “Not only do we participate in the Rose Parade, we also do a routine event – Equestfest, that will air Jan. 1 before the Rose Parade on RFD-TV.”

How has the pandemic changed their experience?

“This year has been like no other as many obstacles we had to jump, not only in our club, but in the Rose Parade Organization,” said Sommerville.

To view these East County residents on Jan. 1, 2022, watch Fox News 5 at 10 a.m. with hosts Leeza Gibbons, Mark Steines and Micah Ohlman or view a livestream of the parade at https://rosebowldigest.com/.


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