Burgers and camaraderie at self-built float picnic

Cal Poly Pomona 2019 float team, L-R: Elizabeth Meyer, Nathan Muro, Stephanie Ferreya, Hana Haideri, Caitlin Yaneza, Wolfgang Breitenbach

by Laura Berthold Monteros

One might think that there would be a good deal of competition among the associations that build their own floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade. Indeed there is, but it’s all good-natured. Once a year, they get together for a picnic or potluck at one of the float sites to reveal the designs for the upcoming parade, talk shop, and share information. Your Rose Examiner dropped by the South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn. build site on Saturday to chat with some of the folks and glimpse the design sketches for the 2019 parade.

The floats will end up looking a good deal like the sketches, but there will be tweaks along the way, some by the builders as they work on structural and floral elements and some from the TOR Float Committee. With the theme being “The Melody of Life,” there’s an emphasis on incorporating musical elements in each entry. In the case of Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn., acceptance of the design was contingent on adding an instrument to the float. The team added a koto player to “Harmony’s Garden,” a depiction of the Japanese Garden on the grounds of Sierra Madre Elementary School.

Check out the photos below!

Five of the six self-built associations were at the picnic—SPTOR, Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., SMRFA, and Cal Poly Pomona—which form a sort of necklace along the foothills. The remaining builder is Downey Rose Float Assn., which is further south. San Luis Obispo, the northern half of the Cal Poly Universities Rose Float, gets together with the Pomona when it rolls down in October.

We met Janetta Mcdowell, the Cal Poly Pomona Rose Float Director, and spoke with six of the students who are on the team this year. Despite all the hours they put in, they get no academic credit. “It’s a club, not a class,” they said. During crunch time towards the end of the year, they will be joined by other volunteers. Here’s a little about the students in the photo above.

  • Elizabeth Meyer is working on the float for her second year, last year as a volunteer and this year as a team member. She works on the hydraulics, a messy job but one that is redolent with the scents of childhood spent with her mechanical grandfather. She’s studying mechanical engineering and working on the float is her senior project.
  • Nathan Muro volunteered for a year before joining the float team two years ago. He is the design committee chair and is majoring in electrical engineering.
  • Stephanie Ferreya is an assistant chair of the design committee and is in her second year on the float. She majors in biology.
  • Hana Haideri is an electrical engineering major; this is her second year on the float team after volunteering for a year.
  • Caitlin Yaneza works on the electronics on the float as part of the construction team. This is her second year on the team. She is a psychology major.
  • Wolfgang Breitenbach is on the team for the first year. His choice was the deco committee, which handles the floral design. His major is manufacturing engineering, which he simplified for us by saying that it about automation and assembly lines.

Cal Poly Universities are known for engineering and agriculture, so we asked if anyone was an agriculture major. The head of the decorating committee, which is in charge of ensuring that floral and botanical choices are made, fulfilled, and get on the float, is an ag major, we were told.

The all-volunteer associations are very proud that they give the professional builders a run for their money. One of the Burbank volunteers noted that the only trophy designated for self-builts is the Founder Award, but in recent years, self-builts have frequently taken four or five trophies overall. In 2016, all six groups won awards. For long-time Rose Parade aficionados, the self-builts are the heart of the parade. It will be exciting to see how they fare in 2019.

Rose Parade floats with Entertainment Value wins: TJ’s, UPS Store, Ag PhD, AARFA

The UPS Store sea monster promoted reading in the 2018 Rose Parade.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The 129th Tournament of Roses Parade ushered in a new system of float awards. The 24 awards are divided into three categories plus Sweepstakes, in 2018 by Singpoli American BD. The gallery below has photos of the four winners in the Entertainment Value category. The theme of the 2018 Rose Parade was “Making a Difference.” From food to books to raising families, the sponsors of these floats make a difference to people across America.

The four awards and winners in the Entertainment Value category are

Extraordinaire Award for the most extraordinary float: The UPS Store “Books Bring Dreams to Life,” designed by Charles Meier and built by Paradiso Parade Floats

Wrigley Legacy Award for the most outstanding display of floral design, float design, and entertainment: Ag PhD TV and Radio “Salute to Farmers,” designed by John Ramirez and built by AES

Judges Award for most outstanding floral design and entertainment: American Armenian Rose Float Association “Armenian Roots,” designed by AARFA board member Johnny Kanounji and built by Phoenix Decorating Company

Showmanship Award for most outstanding display of showmanship and entertainment: Trader Joe’s “Hats Off,” designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company

All photos are copyright 2018 by LB Monteros

Rose Parade rides: A car that’s a star and vintage autos for the celebrities

by Laura Berthold Monteros

J. Keith White, AIFD CFD takes a photo opp in the 1919 Dodge Brothers car while waiting for Grand Marshal Gary Sinise to arrive.

 

The Tournament of Roses Parade brings to mind huge floral floats with costumed riders gliding along Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. But the best way to ride in the 2018 Rose Parade may well have been in a vintage Packard with a bullet hole in the side. Or at least, it might be the most evocative! The vintage vehicles that the Tournament Entries Committee picks out for the president, grand marshal, mayor, and Hall of Fame inductees often have colorful histories, and sometimes mysterious ones. It’s a mystery how that bullet hole got there, but it’s fun to think about.

J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and Peter Samek, AIFD are tasked with decorating the cars every year. We enjoy stopping by to chat with the always-welcoming gentlemen and to get a look at the creative adornments. The floral designers carefully choose the colors to complement both the cars and the riders.

Fall colors for the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame inductees in a 1933 Lincoln and 1909 Pope-Hartford brought to mind crisp autumn fields and cheering crowds. Florals in white on the 1929 Packard spoke to the dignity of  Pres. Lance Tibbet. The 1919 Dodge Brothers. that carried Grand Marshal Gary Sinise got several shades of purple that complemented the Pantone color of 2018, ultraviolet; read more about it here. Mayor Terry Tornek rode in 1924 Model TT jitney, decorated with baskets of florals and produce that recalled the bus’ first use as a produce truck.

The gallery with this article has photos of the vehicles in Rosemont Pavilion during deco week. Be sure to check out the captions for more on the flowering of the cars and some interesting facts. To see them in the parade, follow the links in the paragraphs above.

 

All photos are copyright 2017 by LB Monteros