The Rose Parade turned into a blooming headache - again - for organizers of the New Year's tradition.

For 104 years, all decisions regarding the private, nonprofit New Year's Day Tournament of Roses have been made by an executive committee composed entirely of white men.But this year, embarrassed by criticism and demonstrations in the parade's host city, where more than half the residents are minorities, the committee opened its ranks to women and members of minority groups.

"The tournament has always hoped the parade rings in the new year with the hopes for better understanding of each other," said spokesman Bill Flinn.

Parade organizers have taken a lot of hits in recent years.

Indian groups criticized organizers as racially insensitive for naming a descendant of Christopher Columbus grand marshal of the 1992 parade.

For the past two years, activists protesting General Motors' use of animals in crash tests have tried to storm the automaker's float as it cruised by TV cameras. This year, citing budget problems, GM isn't fielding a float.

In November, after months of pressure, the five-member executive committee was expanded to include two black men, a Hispanic man, an Asian-American woman and a white woman.

The move followed pressure from the city councils in Pasadena and Los Angeles; a rally featuring the Rev. Jesse Jackson; and a traffic-blocking, horn-honking demonstration outside tournament headquarters during the coronation of this year's rose queen.

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Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Los Angeles councilman who sponsored a move to pull the city's float if the tournament didn't diversify its leadership, predicted the controversy won't spoil the spectacle.

"People will go out there and have a good time and root for their team to win," he said.

Saturday's 105th annual parade will feature a 51/2-mile procession of 56 floats, 21 marching bands and 30 equestrian units. The grand marshal is William Shatner of "Star Trek."

Some 1 million people were expected to watch along the parade route, and television will bring the festivities to 450 million others worldwide.

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