In September, 2017, the United States territory of Puerto Rico was pounded by Hurricane Maria. Businesses, homes, and vital services were destroyed. Some families lost everything they had. The wind and rain not only devastated the commonwealth, it has nearly sunk the dreams of a group of talented high schoolers headed for the Jan. 1, 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade.
Each entry in the Rose Parade must cover its own expenses—equipment, travel, food, lodging, and incidentals. Puerto Rico is slowly recovering, but not sufficiently for Banda Escolar De Guayanilla to raise the necessary funds to make it to Pasadena. Many of the kids families lost their homes or work, and money is in short supply. The organization has turned to Go Fund Me to raise support.
The goal is $190,000—yes, that’s how much it costs to get a marching unit here—but as of this writing, has only raised $760. This is the first time your Rose Examiner has ever asked for readers to give to a cause. Please consider giving to this one. Share the link with others who might be willing to give, post it on Facebook or Twitter or other social media.
Inspiring people to live healthier and happier lives by creating scenes in flowers is a frequent message of Rose Parade floats. The floats in the gallery below presented themes of fun, food, and fearlessness in the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2018.
Here’s the basic info on each; riders and flowering are in the captions. Be sure to check out the 2018 Rose Parade page for a listing of all the articles about floats on TheRoseExaminer.com.
Kaiser Permanente, “Inspiring Healthy Communities,” Fiesta Parade Floats, Stanley Meyer designer
Miracle-Gro, “150 Years of Growing,” Fiesta Parade Floats, Stanley Meyer
Northwestern Mutual, “Letting Kids Be Kids,” Fiesta Parade Floats, Stanley Meyer
The Forum, “The Story Lives On,” Phoenix Decorating Company
24 Hour Fitness, “Proud Sponsor of Everyday Athletes,” AES, John Ramirez designer
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, “Keeping the Promise,” Fiesta Parade Floats, Art Aguirre designer
Each year, the Tournament of Roses takes seven regular, yet extraordinary, young women and turns them into a Royal Court with six princesses and one Rose Queen. Applications opened today for the 130th Rose Parade, to be held on Jan. 1, 2019. The women will represent the Tournament and City of Pasadena in the parade and at the 105th Rose Bowl Game, and perform duties from the time of selection through the selection of the next court in 2019. More information is available on the Royal Court webpage and the online application here.
The first round of tryouts is held over two days, Saturday, Sept. 8 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Monday, Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.at Tournament House, 391 S. Orange Grove Blvd., Pasadena. Schools are assigned specific time slots, but if an applicant cannot be there at that time, she may come during any of the tryout hours. In the first round, each applicant has 15 seconds in front of the Queen & Court Committee to state her badge number and why she wants to be on the Royal Court. The 11-member selection committee will not ask any questions nor ask the applicant to begin speaking.
Advice from previous Court members is to be confident, be genuine, and be yourself. The Tournament suggests wearing something that feels comfortable, reflects the girl’s personality, and will make a good first impression. This columnist has noticed that almost all the girls wear dresses, and many wear the same dress for the entire round of interviews. Participants are selected based upon a combination of qualities, including public speaking ability, poise, academic achievement, and community and school involvement.
To participate, an applicant must
Be a female, at least 17 years of age by December 31, 2018, and not more than 21 years of age before January 5, 2019
Possess at least a 2.0 grade point average in both the current and previous years’ course work and able to provide verification of same
Be available to participate in person in all scheduled interview sessions
Register and complete the official Royal Court online application
At the tryouts, former Royal Court members brief applicants on what to expect and are available to answer questions. Tours of the historic Wrigley Mansion are offered and all the applicants are gifted with a rose, photo, official Rose Parade poster, and a ticket for two to the Royal Ball, a semi-formal dance hosted by the Tournament of Roses at the Pasadena Convention Center on Sept. 14.
Most of the 100 or so appearances occur from mid-October to the first week in January. For the many hours they serve, the young women on the Royal Court receive both tangible and intangible benefits. They serve in a world-renowned volunteer community, develop public speaking and etiquette skills, and receive a small educational scholarship, full wardrobe for appearances, and professional hairstyling, make-up application and instruction. Former Royal Court members also say they make lifelong friends.
The Royal Court is chosen from a field of around 900 applicants. Approximately 250 participants will be invited back for a second round of interviews; from that group, about 75 young women will be asked to participate in the third round of interviews. In late September, approximately 25 to 35 candidates will be announced as finalists. The seven-member Royal Court will be announced on Oct. 1 at Tournament House. The announcement and coronation of the Rose Queen is scheduled for the evening of Oct. 23.
Cities and service organizations, such as the ones in the gallery below, present the attractions of their communities and accomplishments of their organizations through the visual impact of Rose Parade floats. These entries brought both beauty and fun to the 129th Tournament of Roses. Here’s the basic info on each; riders and flowering are in the captions. Be sure to check out the 2018 Rose Parade page for a listing of all the articles about floats on TheRoseExaminer.com.
The 375-member Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band made its 46th appearance in the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2018.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
I will state my bias right up front. I am and always will be an Angeleno. I’ve lived in the Pasadena area for the past few decades, but my hometown is one of the many communities in the megalopolis that is LA. Thus, there is a bit of pride in seeing the longest-standing city entry—it goes back 120 years—rolling down the Tournament of Roses Parade route. The 2018 float was part of a cluster of entries representing Los Angeles. The theme of the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade was “Making a Difference.”
Salvation Army Tournament of Roses Band, based in Long Beach, represents the Greater Los Angeles area. The Salvation Army Church serves in 128 countries. The band invites guest Salvation Army bands from around the world to join them at the Rose Parade; this year, it was a band from Angola, dressed in traditional regalia. This marked the SA band’s 99th consecutive year in the Rose Parade. Kevin Larsson directs the LA band.
Los Angeles Police Department Metropolitan Division Mounted Platoon is committed to children in the Los Angeles area. Members volunteer time with kids in Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and with those who have lost parents in the line of duty. Some of these youngsters walked behind. The unit was joined by an LAPD Honor Guard and the LA Police Emerald Society Bagpipe & Drum Band. This was Chief Charlie Beck’s final Rose Parade appearance. He retired from the LAPD in June, 2018.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board sponsors float for the City of Los Angeles. “Everyone Is Welcome,” designed by Mike Abboud for Fiesta Parade Floats, expresses the city’s love for and nurturing of one of the most diverse populations in the world. LA welcomes people of every race, culture, and gender identity, who fill the air with hundreds of different languages and the scents of scores of different cuisines in neighborhoods throughout the city. At least 224 different languages are spoken by people from 140 countries.
Architecture ranges from the quirky lighted pylons at Los Angeles International Airport to the grandeur of the iconic Griffith Park Observatory, which the director calls “LA’s hood ornament” for its perch on Mt. Hollywood. Behind on the float is the Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee, with waving searchlights beckoning people to the city. Annually, LA hosts 47 million people. For flowering and riders, read the captions on the photos.
Los Angeles Unified School District All District High School Honor Band, directed by Tony White, represents the second largest school district in the county. The band was marking its 46th consecutive year in the Rose Parade. LAUSD educates children in neighboring cities, as well as in the City of LA, and the 375 members are drawn from all over the district. The unit reflects the great diversity of the area, both ethnically and economically. The students put in some 400 extra practice hours to be ready for the parade.
The band has five drum majors, 271 brass, 60 percussion, 14 banner carriers, and 30 color guard. Woodwind players in the district can try out for the Pasadena City College Tournament of Roses Honor Band. Assistant Directors and Unit Leaders are Art Duardo, Darnella Davidson, Veronica Gonzalez, Ariel Legaspi, Victoria Lopez, Ramon Mendez, Erick Quintanilla, and Marc Manriquez. Assistants and volunteers are Bladimir Castro, Scott Martin, Danny Barcenas, David Profeta, Kevin Cisneros, Kyle Kawahara, Luis Sanchez, Allan Valladares, Davier Arroyo, Grover Castro. Dose Gamboa, Doselyn Gonzalez, Christian Melgoza, Dose Nava, Amir Parvinian, Miguel Velasquez, and Ernie Sandoval.
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City of Hope has been transforming the future of health since 1913, through research, prevention, and treatment. The float depicts one of the Wishing Trees on campus, with notes of hope fluttering from the branches. It won the coveted Isabella Coleman Award.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Since the foundation of the Tournament of Roses Parade is flower-covered floats, it may seem odd that in the new system of float awards there is a specific category for Floral Design. The floats that take home awards in this category display the most effective, beautiful, creative, and bountiful use of fresh botanical materials. One of the most prestigious awards, the Isabella Coleman, is in this category.
The winners in the 2018 Rose Parade are listed in the table below, and descriptions of flowering and animation are in the captions in the photo gallery. It’s a large gallery, but the floats are well worth the clicks.
Some interesting notes on a few of the floats:
City of Hope rider Daniel Bliley began donating platelets on his 18th birthday in memory of his mother, who died of leukemia when Daniel was 8. Fifteen years later, he has donated 200 times. Read more about this young man on the City of Hope website.
United Sikh Mission is a Southern California nonprofit founded by Rashpal Singh in 2006 to benefit the poor in rural Punjab. One of the major efforts is providing eye clinics. The dedication to service is foundational to Sikhism, which can be seen in this depiction of the Golden Temple kitchen (langar) which feeds 100,000 people a day. The Leishman Public Spirit Award, the organization’s first, is well-deserved.
A sapling from one of Hiroshima’s A-bomb survivor trees was on the Rotary float and slated to be planted in one Rotary’s Peace Gardens.
More than 97 percent of the flowers on the Cal Poly Universities float were grown in the State of California, which garnered them California Grown certification for the seventh year; the only Rose Parade float to do so. Masses of fresh flowers included 10,000 roses, 10,000 gerbera, 12,000 chrysanthemums, 12,000 button and cushion mums, and 1,000 irises.
Taiwan-based China Airlines signed the United for Wildlife Transport Taskforce Buckingham Palace Declaration in 2017. The airline has pledged to not transport illegal wildlife and related products.
2018 FLORAL DESIGN CATEGORY
Sponsor “Theme” Builder, Designer
President Award for most outstanding use and presentation of flowers
Western Asset Management Company “Oceans of Possibility” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
Isabella Coleman Award for most outstanding presentation of color harmony through floral design
City of Hope “Transforming Lives with Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
Queen Award for most outstanding presentation of roses
Downey Rose Float Association “Working Together” Self Built, Jeff Shadic, Jason Redfox, Thom Neighbors
Leishman Public Spirit Award for most outstanding floral design and display from a non-commercial participant
United Sikh Mission “Serving Kindness” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
Princess Award for most floral display among entries 35 feet and under in length
Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee “Planting the Seeds of Service” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
Past President Award for most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials
Cal Poly Universities “Dreams Take Flight” Self Built, N/A
Founder Award for most outstanding floral display built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization
Burbank Tournament of Roses Association “Sand-Sational Helpers” Self Built, Catherine Glandeon, Fred Fraleigh
International Award for most outstanding floral display among floats from outside the United States
China Airlines “Caring for Our Sea” Artistic Entertainment Services, John Ramirez
Tournament Volunteer Award for most outstanding floral display of the rose parade theme among floats 35 feet and under in length
Shriners Hospitals for Children “Caring for Kids Around the World” Phoenix Decorating Company, Cynthia McMinimy
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Torrance Rose Float Association “Protecting Nature…The Madrona Marsh Preserve” by Fiesta Parade Floats won the Mayor Award.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
The flower-covered floats in the Float Design category in the Tournament of Roses’ new system of float awards display themes that touch our lives or have specific design elements. The winners in the 2018 Rose Parade are listed in the table below, and descriptions of flowering and animation are in the captions in the photo gallery. It’s a large gallery, but the floats are well worth the clicks.
Some interesting notes on a few of the floats:
The Sierra Madre float, its 86th entry, wrote, “Ten years ago we had the first grandmother to drive a Rose Parade float and this year we have the first great-grandmother to drive a Rose Parade float. Kay Sappington, our Chair of Float Decoration, has 13 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, and to top it off, parade day is her birthday. The observer, LaDonna Gaydosh, is a grandmother with seven grandchildren.”
The new Torrance rose was featured on the Torrance float. Named after the city, it was introduced last year by the American Rose Society to mark its 125th anniversary.
La Cañada Flintridge had its own first. Driver Aram Dergharapetian, at 19 years, 5 months old, was LFCTRA’s youngest ever float driver and one of the youngest in Tournament history. 2018 was Aram’s second time on the float; he was the animator on “Backyard Rocketeer” last year. Another note: It’s said to be the only float in the parade equipped with a data recording system, similar to an airplane’s “black box.” Information is stored for analysis and can be viewed in real-time by the float operating crew.
The art department at Paradiso Parade Floats worked on the Donate Life float Aztec calendar for two months, resulting in stunning detail. They researched and adapted the design to incorporate the memorial portraits.
“Make Your Own Momentum,” the entry from Amazon Prime and Paradiso, did indeed make its own momentum. It was the only human-powered float in the 129th Rose Parade and the first entry ever to be pushed by people down the 51/2 mile route. (Quite a few years ago, the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float was a litter carried by several handsome and scantily-clad young men. It was quite the treat!)
2018 FLOAT DESIGN CATEGORY
Sponsor “Theme” Builder, Designer
Theme for most outstanding presentation of the parade theme
Donate Life “The Gift of Time” Paradiso Parade Floats, Charles Meier
Bob Hope Humor for most whimsical and amusing entry
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association “Panda-Monium” Self Built, Renee’ Hoss-Johnson, Brianne Johnson
Director for most outstanding artistic design and floral presentation
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float “Sacrifice to Serve” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
The Tournament of Roses announced today that it has created a development office to oversee broadcast partnerships, all parade participants, strategic partnerships and advise on the overall entertainment and creative elements of the Rose Parade. Amy Kule, who last year launched the strategic and creative consulting agency Merry Wonderer, has been tapped to lead the development office. She will continue in her position at that company. Also joining the Rose Parade Development Office and reporting to Kule is Eric Solomon, as Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships. He will lead business development and sponsorship engagement for the Rose Parade.
Kule, who served as a float judge for the 2013 Rose Parade. Prior to starting Merry Wonderer, she was the Group Vice President of Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group. She was responsible for producing Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks, as well as other events.
Kule said, “I’m passionate about large scale live entertainment events and experiences and honored to join the Tournament of Roses as they look toward the future with the creation of this brand-new office. I will lead the team and focus efforts on working with our great partners and enormously talented and dedicated volunteers to expand and diversify the entertainment and business model of the parade as well as its surrounding year-long event slate and charitable giving initiatives.”
Solomon most recently served as Director, Strategic Partnerships – Culinary for WME | IMG where he launched the US expansion of the global Taste Festival platform. Solomon was Associate Director, Corporate Sponsorships for the Spirit Awards and worked in client services for Wasserman Media Group.
The Tournament of Roses has been searching for ways to make the Rose Parade more entertaining and more attractive to a younger audience for years. In interviews with incoming presidents, The Rose Examiner has frequently heard this concern. The hiring of Executive Director/Chief Executive Officer David Eads in 2017 brought new eyes to a traditional event, and the formation of a development department is a much-needed addition to the TOR Association. It is hoped that new returning sponsors will be developed, and a more systematic approach to inviting one-time sponsor to mark events such as anniversaries, new offerings, and celebrations with an entry in the parade. As the media release said, “the parade is marching forward in a new era, maintaining its historic roots while layering in new entertainment features.”
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.
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