The City of Alhambra celebrated its 90th Rose Parade float with “Story Time,” a salute to the Civic Center Library’s 110th birthday. The bookworm is reading “Tales from the Alhambra,” the source of the city’s name, to his insect buddies.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
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 129
th 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.
Lions Clubs International, “Preserving Our Environment,” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse designer
South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, “Booster Club,” Self-Built
City of Alhambra, Calif., “Story Time,” Phoenix Decorating Company, Mike Abboud designer
Kiwanis International, “Racing to Serve Children,” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
City of Carson, “Honoring the Past – Envisioning Our Future,” Fiesta Parade Floats, Art Aguirre designer
Lutheran Laymen’s League, “Bringing Christ to the Nations,” Phoenix Decorating Company, Michelle Lofthouse
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Lion Clubs International “Preserving Our Environment” depicts youth in LEOS planting and sprucing up a historic location. International President Naresh Aggarwal of Punjab, India and his wife Navita rode the float.
Roses, orchids, gerbera, iris, delphiniums, daffodils, Bells of Ireland, hyacinth, tulips, stock, and snapdragons—some specially grown for Phoenix Decorating Co.—made up the 10,360 flowers. Two live Noble firs stood on either side. The mill wheel rotated with real water.
South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association is the oldest self-built float in the Rose Parade, going back 108 years. “Booster Club” honored folks who support student athletes. Note the license plate! The tiger is the mascot of SPHS and the ostrich harks back to the Cawston Ostrich Farm.
A roadster, covered with 40,000 red Paris roses pulled a trailer filled tailgate necessities. Flowers included 50,000 roses, 5,000 carnations, and 10,000 mums. The wheels on the car turned and smoke wafted from the grill.
The City of Alhambra celebrated its 90th Rose Parade float with “Story Time,” a salute to the Civic Center Library’s 110th birthday.
The 55,700 flowers on the Alhambra float included roses, mums, carnations, orchids, gerbera, iris, Bells of Ireland, snapdragons, freesia, calla lilies, lavender, amaranthus, hydrangea, and larkspur. The worms head turned from side to side and the ladybugs’ wings flapped.
The Kiwanis International float had a speedy tiger “Racing to Serve Children,” which illustrated the urgency Kiwanians have in making sure children have what they need to thrive and reach their full potential.
Real bikes were covered with dry materials to meet Tournament of Roses requirements, including black onion powder, ground rice, lentils, and white pepper, statice, and silverleaf.
The 89,874 flowers on the Kiwanis float included roses, carnations, mums, gladiola, and cymbidium. Kiwanians packed the stands to cheer on their champion racer.
“Honoring the Past—Envisioning Our Future” kicked off the 50th anniversary celebration of the City of Carson. The beads surrounding the treasure chest showed off city landmarks and organizations, Stub Hub Center, the world’s largest soccer-specific stadium in the US.
Floral sprays created the new Founder Fountain, located at city hall. Flowers included orchids, iris, and more than 20,000 coral Movie Star roses. Fireworks, both real and floral, burst out of the float. Carson is also home to the newest Goodyear blimp, “Wingfoot Two.”
Lutheran Hour Ministries “Bringing Christ to the Nations” chose a boat, an ancient symbol of the church, with map on the sail, to bring the Gospel message to the world. The float was decorated with 41,740 flowers, including roses, mums, carnations, calla lilies, and orchids.
Riders on the Lutheran Hour Ministries float were people who, like the Rose Parade theme, are “Making a Difference”—a comfort dog and handler, a Sunday School teacher and child, a leader of a food bank, a medical professional, and a Lutheran pastor.
All photos copyright 2016 Ramona Monteros, except as noted
Destination Irvine - Irvine Chamber of Commerce "Innovation Rocks!" designed by Mike Abboud and built by Phoenix Decorating Company was the city’s first entry in the Rose Parade. It represented Irvine’s 16 hotels. Peter the Anteater is UC Irvine’s mascot.
Destination Irvine "Innovation Rocks!" celebrated the 50th anniversary of the University of California Irvine as an innovation hub. Irvine is known for life-changing innovations in technology and life sciences.
Eight interlocking gears and two bubble machines created a whimsical mood on Destination Irvine - Irvine Chamber of Commerce "Innovation Rocks!"
Fanciful flowers nestled among the roses on the Destination Irvine "Innovation Rocks!" Rose Parade float.
American Armenian Rose Float Association, Inc. "Discover Armenia," designed by Johnny Kanounji and Mike Abboud and built by Phoenix Decorating company celebrated 16 landmarks of Armenia on the organization’s second Rose Parade float. The Mother Armenia statue of Yerevan, Armenia is front and center and the Sardarapat Memorial rises in the rear.
Three television personalities rode the “Discover Armenia” Rose Parade float: Araksya Karapetyan from Good Day LA, Sona Movsesian, Conan O'Brien assistant, and Ellina Abovian from KTLA. Two of the ladies are seated in front of two Urartu sphinxes.
"Discover Armenia" float: Tatev Monastery, built in the 9th century, and 10th century Gavazan Swinging Column. The column is a feat of engineering, constructed with a pivoting base to withstand earthquakes.
Two riders beside the “We Are Our Mountains” monument, now in Azerbaijan, and in front of the pre-Christian era Temple of Garni on the “Discover Armenia” float.
Riders in front of the Sardarapat Memorial on “Discover Armenia.” White doves were released from the float during the Rose Parade.
City of Glendale, Calif. “Getting There Is Half the Fun,” designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company was Glendale’s 101st Tournament of Roses entry, placing the city behind only Los Angeles in Rose Parade longevity. Its entries have won more than 50 trophies, including 12 Sweepstakes.
The feathers on Glendale’s official bird, the peacock, fluttered in the breeze on “Getting There Is Half the Fun.” The swirls in the “eyes” of the tail feathers are Glendale’s city logo.
Glendale’s “Getting There Is Half the Fun” had 15 riders in various conveyances: Sarah, Arthur, and Rachel Fritz; Robert and Catherine Nicksin; Patricia Trytten;, Lori, Olivia, Evan, and Michael Silao; Melody Rogers; Katherine and Glenn Yamada; Charleen Badell-Slaughter, and Bill Slaughter.
Trains, planes, automobiles, and even bicycles have brought folks to the City of Glendale throughout the decades. The plane propeller spun and the locomotive wheels rotated. Bikes on Rose Parade floats are real, but completely covered in botanical materials. The float observer did double duty as the engineer.
United Sikh Mission, “A Sikh-American Journey,” designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company. The second entry for this organization celebrated the Vaisakhi a
Punjabi harvest festival. The Punjab region of India is home to the Sikh culture and religion.
The white horse and Sikh rider dominated the front of United Sikh Mission “A Sikh-American Journey.” The equality of all human beings is central to Sikh beliefs.
Sikhs wore traditional and conventional clothing on “A Sikh-American Journey” in the Rose Parade. The temperature was close to freezing when the parade started, which is a good reason for the young man to be wearing gloves.
Dancers joyfully accompanied the United Sikh Mission float. The rectangular baskets among the roses held authentic Indian sweets, which were allowed because they are a natural substance.
A working Ferris wheel was framed by traditional Punjabi urns and peacocks on the United Sikh Mission float. Sikhs work with underprivileged communities through civic, educational and personal development programs.
The rear of the United Sikh Mission float featured a map of India detailing the Punjab region framed by stalks of grain and the American and Sikh flags. The region is similar in agricultural wealth to California’s Central Valley, where many Sikhs live and farm.
United Sikh Mission, “A Sikh-American Journey,” designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company, viewed from the “off-camera” side. Photo by LB Monteros
City of Alhambra “Parks Make Life Better,” designed by Dave Pittman for Phoenix Decorating Company marks the city’s 88th entry in the Rose Parade. The arch is symbolic of Alhambra’s location at the mouth of the San Gabriel Valley.
A solo cyclist guided Alhambra’s “Parks Make Life Better” along Colorado Blvd. in the Rose Parade.
Child’s play, golf, and soccer are a few activities that take place when “Parks Make Life Better” in Alhambra. Alhambra’s six parks—Alhambra, Almansor, Granada, Story, Emery, and Burke Heritage—offer community services to the residents.
Riders on “Parks Make Life Better” included City of Alhambra's City Manager Mary Swink and
several Park & Recreation employees. The leaves on the twin trees were whole magnolia leaves. Photo by LB Monteros
Lutheran Laymen's League/Lutheran Hour Ministries “Jesus is the Light of the World,” designed by Michelle Lofthouse and built by Phoenix Decorating Company It is the organizations’ 66th Rose Parade entry. The lighthouse topped by a cross is a traditional symbol of the float’s theme.
“Jesus is the Light of the World” carried both biblical era and modern disciples in a 20 foot fishing boat, complete with nets of tightly-wrapped raffia. Riders were Dr. John Nunes and Monique Nunes (Chile), Rebeca De Franco (Guatemala), Sathiyanathan Sathiyabalan (Sri Lanka), Dave Rueter, Matt Nolte, Christopher Schaar, Vivian Ernst, Rebekah Buchholz, Ryan Cosgrove, and Dick Gast, General Chairman of the Lutheran Hour Ministries Float Committee.
Roses encircled the lighthouse Lutheran Laymen's League/Lutheran Hour Ministries “Jesus is the Light of the World.” Every year, some 4500 Lutheran Petal Pushers volunteers decorate seven Phoenix floats.