Phoenix Decorating Company chosen to design gateway arch to Arroyo Seco Weekend: New Photos

An enchanted passage into the Arroyo, designed by Phoenix Decorating Company and covered in all natural botanicals. Photo c.2017 Carlos Monteros


by Laura Berthold Monteros

The excitement was apparent in publicist Chuck Hayes’ voice when we talked on the phone this evening about Phoenix Decorating Company’s latest build. The most prolific float builder for the Tournament of Roses Parade, the company was tapped by Goldenvoice to build an entry archway for the Arroyo Seco Weekend coming up this Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. It’s a classic Rose Parade rendition of a Pasadena icon, the Spanish Colonial Revival City Hall. The Spanish tile dome and copper-clad cupola perches on a 20-foot-wide sculpture patterned after the rotunda arches.

In classic float style, the Tournament of Roses Archway is covered in botanical materials chosen by COO and Floral Director Lyn Lofthouse. She used light lettuce seed, poppy seed, ground onion seed, coconut, powdered rice, lima beans, navy beans, black beans, and strawflower. Hayes also gave credit to Production Manager Sean McMinimy and the skilled crew at Phoenix in completing the project.

Phoenix Decorating Company President and CEO Chris Lofthouse stated, “Phoenix Decorating Company was honored to be asked to create the Arroyo Seco Weekend Archway in the style of a Rose Parade Float by Goldenvoice, it is our hope that the people who visit the festival will return on January 1, 2018 to see our floats in the Rose Parade.”

Entry archway for Arroyo Seco Weekend being towed into the Rose Bowl area. Courtesy Phoenix Decorating Company.
Entry archway for Arroyo Seco Weekend being towed into the Rose Bowl area. Courtesy Phoenix Decorating Company.

While only a few people can ride on a Rose Parade float, thousands of people will get a taste of the experience as they enter the festival through the decorated arch over the two days. The freestanding piece stands 20 feet high with arches 13 feet high and 13 feet wide. It weighs more than 2,000 pounds. It was towed from the float barn in Irwindale on a flatbed, with the dome lying beside the arch.

Hayes chuckled, “You know we don’t like tows!” The company usually drives the floats from parade route to the float barn—and no builder likes an emergency tow during the Rose Parade—but in this case, the logistics of getting the piece down into the low-lying Rose Bowl area required a bit of help.

An artist’s concept of the arch is on the Arroyo Seco Weekend site. The family-friendly event includes activities at Kidspace, several stages for bands, and several art installations. Readers can follow Phoenix on Facebook at




Around Town

Cheeseburger Challenge Results Released

Pasadena celebrated all things cheeseburger during Cheeseburger Week January 8th to 13th. Visitors enjoyed food created especially for the event, took advantage of great deals and meals, followed cheeseburger crawls and voted in the 2017 Cheeseburger Challenge. In all, 1,144 votes were cast in the challenge to determine favorites in 14 categories ranging from Favorite Burger to favorite Dessert after a Burger. Here are the results of the 2017 Cheeseburger Challenge. Congratulations to those named Favorites in these categories.

Parson’s Nose Theater has a place to call home  574076a8-f2db-46df-b408-ae16c3a2aca8

Lance Davis, Artistic Director of Parson’s Nose Theater announced that the performance group finally has its own venue after 16 years “on the road.” The organization recently signed a lease for space in The Abbey on Holly Street and Marengo Avenue in Pasadena.

“It’s a gloriously charming and intimate venue, two blocks from City Hall in the heart of Old Pasadena, that will be perfect for our mission to bring classic comedies to audiences of all ages,” Davis said. “It will allow us to rehearse, perform, have workshops, readings and classes, for you, our friends.”


Parson’s Nose presents both readings and full stagings of plays. Davis says there will be several events in the fall to introduce people to the venue, culminating in readings of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in December. For more information, visit or call (626) 403-7667.


Left: Barry Gordon, Lance Davis, Mary Chalon


Southwest Airlines in-flight magazine highlights the City of Pasadena with a tour of Crown City landmarks

The Pasadena Convention & Visitors Bureau took a writer from Southwest Magazine on a tour of the city, which resulted in a six-page centerpiece for the in-flight publication of Southwest Airlines. Part of the “Adventure In …” series, the magazine highlights the Crown City’s Norton Simon Museum, the Rose Bowl Flea Market, Hotel Constance and Gamble House. Southwest Airlines is the No. 1 carrier at seven of the 10 California airports it serves, including Los Angeles International, Burbank Bob Hope, and Ontario International.
“We are ecstatic over the Pasadena media coverage in Southwest Magazine this month,” said Michael Ross, chief executive officer of the Pasadena Center Operating Company. “This is a great opportunity to get in front of potential visitors during one of the busiest travel months.” And to give them plenty to see during the Tournament of Roses season, no doubt.

Playhouse District light installation at Pasadena Presbyterian Church


by Laura Berthold Monteros 


Located at the heart of the city, Pasadena Presbyterian Church is a perfect site for an art installation. As part of the Pasadena Playhouse District public art initiative, sculptors Megan Mueller and Samuel Scharf unveiled “Between Violet and Green” on Friday, Aug. 26. The temporary installation is a display of 360 lights on the front lawn of the church at 585 E. Colorado St. at Madison Avenue. It will remain in place through October.

The idea, Scharf told me, is to reflect the California sunlight by caching the power during the day with solar cells and playing it back at night when the lights come on. The rectangular 5LBMboxes with the lights atop were hand painted in shades of blue, and the color perspective changes as one walks past. The design uses the natural contours of the lawn to draw the eye from the massive bell tower through the rows of lights to the door of the church.

“People were coming up during the work and were very excited,” Scharf said. When the display is dismantled, he said, “The lights will be donated or used for another installation.” The photos show the installation just before and after dusk.

The Playhouse District, centered around the famous Pasadena Playhouse that gave many Hollywood stars their start, is filled with public art displays. Photos and locations can be found on their website,