PASADENA, Calif.—Floats began parading down streets in Pasadena, kicking off the 125th Rose Parade.

Spectators, including many who camped overnight, jammed sidewalks along the 5 1/2-mile route on New Year's Day under sunny skies.

This year's highlights include a gay couple who planned to tie the knot on a float by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation. Other float sponsors include eHarmony, SeaWorld, Macy's and Trader Joe's.

Los Angeles Dodgers longtime broadcaster Vin Scully is the parade's grand marshal, and he'll toss the kickoff coin at the Rose Bowl match later Wednesday between Stanford and Michigan State.

Security at the parade was beefed up this year in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings. Police used bomb-sniffing dogs to sweep streets and increased video surveillance along the route.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

It's among the biggest and most festive New Year's gatherings in the nation, with throngs that at times resemble Times Square, but these revelers are counting down not to midnight but dawn.

Wednesday morning brings the flowered floats, exotic equestrians and brass bands of the 125th Rose Parade.

And by Tuesday night the sidewalks and storefronts of an already closed-down Colorado Boulevard were full of partiers and potential parade-viewers, many of whom would sleep—or at least try to sleep—on the sidewalk to stake out the best spots along the 5 1/2 mile route.

The theme of the New Year's Day parade is "Dreams Come True" and the grand marshal is 86-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, among the most beloved figures in Southern California.

The crowds, expected to number in the hundreds of thousands, will enjoy balmy weather but also be subject to added security.

Bomb-sniffing dogs and a wide range of video surveillance will be used to detect suspicious behavior as police step up their efforts in the wake of bombings at the Boston Marathon.

Pasadena Police Chief Phillip Sanchez also estimates that more than 1,100 officers will patrol the parade route, according to the Pasadena Star-News. The department has been reviewing tragedies such as the one in Boston in April.

"All eyes will be on Pasadena," Sanchez said.

Sanchez also asked spectators to be vigilant and to notify law enforcement immediately if they suspect something out of sorts.

"lf one of the parade-goers sees something suspicious, and what I mean by that is they walk up and put a bag down and they walk away from that bag, have the courage and the insight and the willingness to engage and call that to the attention of local law enforcement officers," he said.

Several protests are planned, including Occupy Fights Foreclosures, which will follow the Rose Parade with three of its own floats.

Last-minute preparations were being made Tuesday for a host of colorful floats, while six F-16s from the Air Force's Thunderbirds rehearsed their parade flyover.


Information from: Pasadena Star-News,