Sharon Howell will stop Monday and smell the roses — thousands of them.
The Forsyth County resident won a four-day trip to the 123rd annual Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl game.
For Howell and her husband, Avery, a landscape architect, attending the Rose Parade has been one of their life goals.
The Howells, who have a passion for plants and landscaping, have long wanted to see the annual parade in Pasadena, Calif., which features floats decorated by natural materials.
“Just to go and see it and smell the flowers and experience the colors up close is something we’ve always had a desire to do,” Sharon Howell said.
“It’s so amazing how they take a flower and just create these gorgeous masterpieces with such a big variety of colors.”
Each fall, she said, the two have researched the opportunity of attending the parade.
This year, while browsing the Internet, she entered the Coors Light Text and Score Sweepstakes. She then promptly dismissed the possibility that she’d be one of two national winners.
But in mid-December, she got word that she would be attending the Rose Bowl with three guests.
“It really did not seem real and didn’t seem official until we received the flight information,” she said.
The Howells and another local couple will watch the parade from the grandstand and receive two behind-the-scenes tours before and after the parade.
They also get to attend a pregame tailgate party and the Rose Bowl game.
Avery Howell said he was thrilled to learn they would get an opportunity for a firsthand, up-front view of the parade they watch every year on TV.
“The parade has always been on my bucket list,” he said. “She had told me nothing about [entering the contest] … I was shocked because it’s something we’ve always wanted to do.”
As a landscape architect, Avery Howell said he and his wife often take trips centered on visiting the gardens of the world. The Rose Parade, however, had just been a dream.
“I just have been amazed at the ways they can make the textures and the colors and the intricacies of the floats,” he said.
He won’t be the first Avery Howell to witness the parade, either.
His father, of the same name, marched in the 1942 Rose Parade when the festival moved to North Carolina from California following the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Avery Howell said his father remembers mostly that the day was very cold.
In sunny California, the weather forecast looks nice and warm for the Monday parade and game.
As for the game, the Howells will cheer for the University of Wisconsin to beat the University of Oregon, since one of the friends going with them hails from the Badger state.
Avery Howell said they’ve got the right garb for the game since they’re fans of his alma mater’s football team.
“Wearing the red is no problem,” he said. “We’re used to that with [University of] Georgia.”