Royal Court hopefuls line up for an opportunity to be a princess in the 2018 Rose Parade

2017 Princesses Natalie Rose Petrosian, Lauren “Emi” Emiko Powers, and Maya Kawaguchi Khan performed one of the final Royal Court duties of orienting the hundreds of girls who were trying out for 2018.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

For many teenage girls living in the Pasadena area, trying out for the Tournament of Roses Royal Court is a family or school tradition. They come with their friends and each has a story about why she wants to represent the Tournament and the community in the 129th Rose Parade on Jan. 1, 2018 and throughout the year. Seven young women will be chosen to promote the 2018 theme “Making a Difference” by serving for a year on the 2018 Royal Court. One of those seven will become the 100th Rose Queen, an event so monumental that Pasadena Museum of History has an exhibit dedicated to the Royal Court.

We spoke with some of the teens who came on a beautiful Saturday morning with a cool high for the day of 90 degrees—much nicer than the 100+ temperatures of past tryouts. We caught them before their turn in front of the panel of judges to say, in a few seconds, why they wanted to be on the Court. They had a bit more time with The Rose Examiner! Here, with their photos, are their comments. Be sure to check out the gallery, too, which has lots of photos of the event. All the articles on the Royal Court are linked on this dedicated page as they are posted.

Olivia and Reagan

 

Olivia and Reagan attend La Cañada Flintridge High School. Olivia is a recipient of the Gold Award, the highest honor in Girl Scouts. She “loves volunteering,” and said serving on the Royal Court “would be the perfect icing on the cake.” She added that it would be a great experience to have. Reagan said she was very excited about the tryouts. “I’m a little nervous, actually,” she admitted. She thought about what she would say to the judges, “but I don’t want to sound too scripted.”

 

Savannah, Celine, Kasen, Jennifer, Delia, Bridgitte

Savannah and Celine attend AGBU Vatche & Tamar Manoukian High School in Pasadena (hereafter referred to as AGBU) and Kasen, Jennifer, Delia, and Bridgitte attend Arcadia High School. All of the girls understood the effect they could in the community. Savannah wants to promote equality for all, and Kasen, Jennifer, and Bridgette would like to inspire other youth. “I want to set a good example for them to live out their dreams,” Jennifer said. Delia would like to be a role model by “projecting self-confidence to young girls.” Celine took a different tack: She lives in the moment, she said, and relishes the experience of trying out for the Royal Court.

 

Kristen and Danielle

Kristen and Danielle are students at Marshall Fundamental High School in Pasadena. They talked about how they might make a difference on the Royal Court. “I’m part of the National Charity League,” Kristen said, “so I contribute a lot of time. With this, I can help even more.” Danielle said she has made a difference in her work with teaching swim classes and water safety to children.

 

Lara and Danielle

Lara, a student at AGBU, said, “I feel like being an Armenian on the Court would bring awareness to the Armenian community.” She noted that there is a large Armenian population in Pasadena, and we discussed that it goes back to the early years of the 20th century. She was proud that the American Armenian Rose Float Association would have a fourth float in the 2018 parade. Danielle attends Arcadia High School. “I really would enjoy this opportunity to inspire young girls,” she said, and to “really make a difference” in the community.

 

Ashley, James, Samantha

 

We always like to talk to at least one boy in the line. Ashley, James, and Samantha all attend La Salle High School in Pasadena. Sometimes the guys come just to get the pair of tickets to the Royal Ball that all applicants receive, but James assured us that he had more on his mind. Speaking with a polite tone, he said, “I’m here to make a difference. I’m here because this is a Tournament that seems to be sexist.” He isn’t the first young man to express that thought! Ashley (L.) said that the diversity and service she found speaks to her  heart. Samantha wants to represent student athletes. “I want bring something new,” she said. “I want to represent those who excel in their sports.”

 

Simone and Cathy

 

Simone, from Marshall, came with her mom Cathy. Born and raised in this city, Simone said. “I’m here today because I love Pasadena,” adding that she will “bring a positive energy to the Royal Court. I hope to get to the next round. I’m happy to be  here!”

 

Mariajosé and Kimberley

Mariajosé attends John Muir High School in Pasadena and Kimberley goes to Marshall. Mariajosé said, “I just want to try out. Everyone’s been talking about it in school.” She inspired The Rose Examiner with her candor when she added, “This is the first time doing something out of my comfort zone.” As we walk down the line, we can only speak with a few girls. Kimberley, with her rose-bedecked dress, stood out. “I wanted to show who I am,” she said. My culture shows who I am, and this dress shows my culture, because of the flowers.”

 

Filling out an application, standing in a long line in the sun, crowding onto the Tournament House porch for orientation, walking—usually nervously—up to a panel of 10 or 11 judges, and leaving Tournament House with a poster after a tour is a rite of passage for hundreds of girls who live within the boundaries of Pasadena City College. Some come to be with friends or for the experience, some come with grander ideas in mind. Some, like Lara and Kimberley, are proud of their culture and how it contributes to who they are as individuals. Some, like James, want to make a point. For some, like Mariajosé, it is a personal challenge. For writers like  The Rose Examiner, it is inspirational.

 

All photos copyright 2017 Laura B. Monteros

 

Wingtip to Wingtip, WASP fly with the best in the 2014 Rose Parade

WASP pilots Shirley Kruse, Jean McCreery and Barbara Simon. Copyright L.B. Monteros 2013

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

NOTE: This is a reposting of an article that appeared on Examiner.com on Dec. 29, 2013. The last WASP to ride on the 2014 float “Our Eyes Are on the Stars” slipped the surly bonds of earth yesterday.

It was guys in planes who won the war, right?  The war, World War II.  The guys tested the aircraft and flew them from here to there.  Well, there were a few, but according to the National WASP World War II Museum, more than 50 percent of the ferrying of high-speed pursuit aircraft (now called fighters) between 1942 and 1944 was done by women.  These women were WASP.

Examiner interviewed three of these women today at Fiesta Parade Floats, where “Our Eyes Are On The Stars,” a float to honor the Women Airforce Service Pilots, is being built.  The service they performed was ferrying fighters across the country, flying tow target tests for shooting practice, and testing planes so that the men could fly them overseas.

We spoke with pilots Shirley Kruse, Jean McCreery and Barbara Simon who have come to Pasadena for the Rose Parade.  When the war ended, the WASP were dismissed without benefits, without even bus fare home.  “It was a wonderful time, I tell you,” Kruse said.  “We were so disappointed when we were deactivated.  They Continue reading “Wingtip to Wingtip, WASP fly with the best in the 2014 Rose Parade”

Twenty Mule Team brings back Death Valley Days with remarkable craftsmanship

Living history: Twenty Mule Team pulls replicas of the iconic Death Valley boron ore wagons down the 2017 Rose Parade route. In the wagons are the family of Pres. Brad Ratliff and people involved in bringing this piece of history to life. Copyright 2017 R. Monteros

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The last time the Twenty Mule Team pulled freight wagons along Colorado Blvd. in the Rose Parade was 1999, when Pres. Dick Ratliff chose the 110-year-old wagons as his personal conveyance. They were back on Jan. 2, 2017 for the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade at the request of Pres. Brad Ratliff, Dick’s son, in an illustration of his theme “Echoes of Success.” He and his family filled two wagons, this time brand-new replicas of the original 1882 lorries that hauled 10 tons of borax each. The Ratliff family was a light load by comparison, so the wagons had to be weighted with huge water tanks.

“Mules need the weight to pull,” Preston Chiaro, president of the Death Valley Conservancy (DVC),  said adding that the weight also helps with braking. Plywood platforms and hay bales were included so the riders could stand and wave to the crowd.

The third appearance of the team was also an echo of its first Rose Parade appearance a century ago, when it also appeared in the inauguration parade of Pres. Woodrow Wilson. The wagons were decorated for the parade by FTD floral designers J. Keith White, AIFD CFD and Peter Samek, AIFD. White told The Rose Examiner during Deco Week that he wasn’t sure how he would flower what seem like gigantic wooden bins, but the photos show that they did an excellent job of nesting white and red roses in green garlands, with white tulips, carnations, baby breath, and other flowers as accents.

Be sure to check out the gallery below for photos and more information in the captions.

The commission to build the wagons came in January, 2016, and was given to Dave Engel, owner of Engel’s Coach Shop in Joliet, Mont. The shop builds and restores equine-drawn conveyances from sleds to broughams to Yellowstone coaches. He started on this project Continue reading “Twenty Mule Team brings back Death Valley Days with remarkable craftsmanship”

California Milk Advisory Board celebrates 200+ years of dairy farming with 2017 Rose Parade float

“Legacy of Generations” sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board honored the two-century heritage of dairy farming in the Golden State. Many of the decoration materials on the California Milk Advisory Board float represent the food dairy farm families feed their dairy cows. Cows consume food byproducts (citrus pulp, almond hulls, corn stalks), which not only keeps them out of landfills, but is turned by cows into nutritious milk. Ground almond hulls, walnut shells, whole barley, flax seed and oats are used. Many of the materials on the float represent the food dairy farm families feed their dairy cows, byproducts such as citrus pulp, almond hulls, walnut shells, whole barley, flax seed and cottonseed, oats, and corn stalks.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Quick! Which state is Number One in dairy production? Wisconsin? Texas? How about Minnesota? Nope. The top dairy state is also home to the Tournament of Roses. California produces almost 50 percent more milk with 40 percent more cows than the next state. California produced enough milk in 2015 to fill the Rose Bowl Stadium 58 times.

“Legacy of Generations,” sponsored by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), celebrated more than 200 years of dairy farming and families in the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, 2017. The float, a confection of ice cream, milk, yogurt, and cheese in flowers, was designed by Art Aguirre and built by Fiesta Parade Floats. Riders were from multi-generational dairy families representing more than 1,300 dairy farm families in the state, families which own and operate 99 percent of the dairy farms in the Golden State. With one in five cows in the United States residing in California, a Holstein graced her very own satellite float.

We spoke with some of the riders who were present at the California Grown presentation at Fiesta Parade Floats on Jan. 1. More about the presentation, which honors Rose Parade entries that use at least 85 percent California grown flowers, in a later article. For now, we will focus on these folks who provide milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt, and all kinds of dairy products to California and the nation. There are short videos of some of them on the CMAB website. (Scroll down a bit.)

Photos of the California Milk Advistory Board float are in the gallery below, with descriptions of the materials used.

Many of the materials on the float represent the food dairy farm families feed their dairy cows, byproducts such as citrus pulp, almond hulls, walnut shells, Continue reading “California Milk Advisory Board celebrates 200+ years of dairy farming with 2017 Rose Parade float”

Lucy Pet presents surfing dogs and football cats at the Rose Parade Showcase of Floats: Video, photos

Joey Herrick, founder of Lucy Pet Foundation and Lucy Pet Products, with the dog that started it all, Lucy herself. Rose Parade Showcase of Floats, Jan. 3, 2017.
Joey Herrick with the dog that started it all, Lucy herself.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Second in a series of two

Joey Herrick made a splash at the 2017 Tournament of Roses Parade with a passel of pooches surfing on a 65-foot long wave in a gigantic tank of water. In addition to winning the Extraordinaire Trophy for “Most Spectacular Float,” Lucy Pet’s “Gnarly Crankin’ K-9 Wave Maker” broke two Guinness World Records. Read about that here. As “Who Let the Dogs Out” boomed over the Showcase of Floats, we got an opportunity to talk to Herrick and Doc Karen Halligan and to climb the 24-foot tall float to video the dogs.

After Herrick retired from Natural Balance pet foods, he embarked on a mission to drastically reduce the number of stray dogs and cats and the four million that shelters put down annually. He founded Lucy Pet Foundation, named after a stray Chihuahua he rescued, and fitted out a motor home as a self-contained mobile clinic that can spay and neuter more than 120 pets each week. His goal is to have mobile clinic in every major city in the country. It’s estimated that just one clinic can prevent 120,000 animals being added to the homeless pet population.

“The float is the greatest publicity for Lucy Pet,” he told The Rose Examiner. Noting the huge Continue reading “Lucy Pet presents surfing dogs and football cats at the Rose Parade Showcase of Floats: Video, photos”

AIDS Healthcare Foundation honors Orlando shooting victims on 2017 Rose Parade float

A white dove, symbol of world peace, soars above a field of 49 stars, one for each of those who died. The double rainbow exemplifies promise, beauty and  enlightenment with the message of eternal hope and life. Replicas of actual messages of condolences from those who lost loved ones flutter from the Memorial Tree. Stored inside the float are more than 5,000 memorial notes from around the world. Courtesy Pasadena Tournament of Roses.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

On June 12, 2016, 49 men and women were killed and 53 others wounded in a mass shooting at the Orlando nightclub Pulse. On Jan. 2, 2017, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) float will honor the victims on a beautiful Rose Parade float, “To Honor & Remember Orlando.” It is designed by Art Aguirre and built by Fiesta Parade Floats. We spoke about the choice of theme and what it means to the community with three of the riders, Ged Kinslea, Senior Director, Communications for AHF; Gustavo Marrero, Vice President of Impulse Group Orlando; and Corey Lyons, President of Impulse Group Orlando.

Kinslea said that with 2017 being the 30th anniversary of AHF, the original idea had been to celebrate that anniversary on their annual float. “Fiesta Parade Floats reaches out early in the year and gives us the theme,” he said, but AHF doesn’t firm up a concept until July or August. “June 12 happened. As soon as that hit, we decided that should be the focus. We delegated it to Fiesta. The direction AHF gave was to “be spectacular.” AHF and Impulse Group were presented with three designs, and both agreed on the one illustrated above.

In choosing the theme, Marrero said, “Remembering and honoring those we lost in Orlando is the primary focus. Secondary is shedding light that Orlando still needs their help.” The float is a great opportunity to shed light on families, victims, and survivors of the tragedy, he said, and to honor lost lives and look to a better future. Impulse consulted Continue reading “AIDS Healthcare Foundation honors Orlando shooting victims on 2017 Rose Parade float”

Dole Packaged Foods gives employees a taste of Hawaii and the Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Every year, Dole Packaged Foods gathers its employees in the Fiesta Parade Floats barn right next to their float, and gives them a party that spans the holiday season. The event was held on Dec. 11, and was attended by both Santa Claus and the Tournament of Roses Royal Court. We dropped in for some photos, conversation, and a delicious luau, including haupia, a Hawaiian dessert. Check out the photo gallery below for snapshots of the fun.

The 2017 Dole float, “Spirit of Hawaii,” features three important and very different figures: King Kamehameha I, founder of the Kingdom of Hawaii; Pele, goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes; and Sebastian, the parrot who rode with the late Raul Rodriguez on floats he designed. In the six years Dole Packaged Foods has entered the Rose Parade, the floats have won five Sweepstakes and one Director’s Trophy. The 2017 entry is designed by Stanley Meyer. It has a working volcano and four real waterfalls flowing down the side of the mountain and cascading from a floral bridge. Dancers, including a fire dancer, and drummers will accompany the float as outwalkers and on the bridge.

We spoke about the float with Monica Spiro, Associate Manager of Events for Dole, and Dave Spare, Vice President, Marketing, about the community involvement of the company. It’s a tradition for some of the riders to be the children of Dole associates, and this year, Spiro’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna will be aboard. Spiro said the company tries to match the parade theme in the float design. The 128th Rose Parade theme is “Echoes of Success.”

“‘Spirit of Hawaii’ makes sense, since the company started in Hawaii,” she said. She brings the float theme into the party with elements that will be fun for the families, which can be seen in the photo gallery. It’s a way of sharing the Dole vision and heritage with the associates and their families. All associates are invited, and about 250 came to the luau.

“It’s really nice, because it’s a way for associates who can’t go to the parade to experience the float,” Spiro said. Another way is for associates to participate in decorating the float. Fiesta Parade Floats brings the giant plumeria, that will encircle the float like a lei, to the company headquarters in Westlake Village for associates to decorate with rice, and about 15-20 people will come to the Irwindale barn to decorate. Part of the entryway is dedicated to the float, with animal sculptures from previous floats and photos of the floats.

“It’s a way to touch, see, and feel the float,” she said. “We try to look at all the different ways people can experience this.”

Dole is also part of Live on Green, a pre-parade event with activities, displays, food, and entertainment. The company sponsors a food booth where Dole Whips can be purchased, the special treat usually available only at Disneyland. Dole has sponsored the Tiki Room for 40 years, and even reserved the room for a national meeting, where dessert was served.

“We want everyone to have a good time and have fun,” Spiro said. “There’s something for everyone.” And, she added, “Sebastian is still in front” on the float.

Dave Spare shared Dole Packaged Foods’ commitment to aiding non-profits that help people in need. The president and CEO of one of those organizations will ride on the float on Jan. 2. Food Share, the largest food bank in Ventura County, receives millions of pounds of healthy food from Dole every year, Spare said. The food is still within its expiration date and includes frozen, canned, and prepared items and 99 percent of Dole products are non-GMO.

“We were way ahead of the GMO movement,” Spare said. “On the float, all the fruit is non-GMO. It’s more expensive, but [consumers] are getting purer fruit.”

In addition to products and cash, Dole employees volunteer thousands of hours each year to charity work, including Food Share, Spare said. He volunteers at Ventura County Rescue Mission. Employees can take time off work for volunteering, so they don’t have to use vacation days.

If the company works to create  community spirit among its US employees, it helps to create a community overseas. Spare said the Dole Packaged Foods operation in the Philippines is the largest in the world, but there’s a lot of poverty in that country. Dole has built roads, schools and hospitals, and offers free medical care and free schooling. With an increase in hiring, there is a shortage of housing, so the company built 74 homes this year and plans to build 72 next year.

“The employees help to build them,” he said. “It’s like Habitat for Humanity.” Spare has worked for Dole Packaged Foods for 20 years, and he said the other vice presidents have worked 15 to 30 years. “It’s just a great company,” he said.

‘Canines with Courage’ honors dogs who save the lives of troops at war

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

I originally posted this article in 2012. I’m reposting it today, in honor of our four-legged veterans and the men and women who trained and worked them. Be sure to check out the album below.

 

Natural Balance Pet Foods is known for Rose Parade floats that push the envelope—world’s longest, world’s heaviest—with dogs who skateboard, skimboard, surf, and ski board.  The 2013 Rose Parade will see something very different from Natural Balance.

“Canines with Courage” honors military working dogs who have often gone to war and saved the lives of American troops.  The float, built by Fiesta Parade Floats, is a replica of the Military Working Dogs National Monument that will be erected at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas in late 2013.  Currently the statues are touring the county, and will be on display at the post-Rose Parade Showcase of Floats.

On Friday, we caught up with a few of the riders who will be on “Canines with Courage” on Jan. 1, 2013.

Robert Harr served in the US Navy Underwater Demolition Team that was attached to the Marines—“It’s called the SEALS today,” he said—and handled the most decorated dog of World War II.  The dogs operated behind enemy lines in the Pacific Theater, sniffing out the enemy.  The operations were highly secret.  “We never knew where we were going,” Harr said.

“The dog saved 150 lives,” he said, and served on Iwo Jima and Okinawa.  “His name was Rex, but after Iwo Jima and Okinawa, people started calling him ‘that Oki dog.’”  He lived to be 16 and met President Harry S. Truman at one point.  “The dog didn’t like Truman,” Harr laughed.

Robert Harr will be riding on the float with two other handlers we spoke with, Gy. Sgt. Christopher Willingham and Cpl. Juan Rodriguez (Marines).  Both handled the 2012 Hero Dog Lucca, a German Shepherd/Malinois mix.  Lucca is a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Her record is spotless; no troops were lost or injured on her watch. Continue reading “‘Canines with Courage’ honors dogs who save the lives of troops at war”