Rose Parade floats, food, and friendship at annual self-built potluck

Photo: Sierra Madre float barn displays name signs from award-winning floats

Updated April 30, 2019 to add Sierra Madre Rose Float Association

by Laura Berthold Monteros

When the six self-built float organizations meet for the annual get-together and potluck, the talk isn’t of beating the others out for Rose Parade trophies. It’s a time to reveal designs for floats in the upcoming Rose Parade that have been approved by the Tournament of Roses, as well as a place for camaraderie among a rare breed of peopl who still build their own flower-covered floats to represent their communities. Ideas, techniques, and food—plenty of it and all delicious—are shared.

The Rose Examiner attended last Saturday’s event, hosted by Sierra Madre Rose Float Association in their float barn in Sierra Vista Park. All six associations had representatives there: Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, Cal Poly Universities Rose Float, Downey Rose Float Association, La Cañada Flintridge Rose Float Association, South Pasadena Rose Float Association, and of course Sierra Madre. The Cal Poly team was represented by alumni, because it was the weekend for students from both Pomona and San Luis Obispo to get together and plan for the parade.

The theme for the 131st Tournament of Roses is “The Power of Hope.” Each float entry must reflect that in some way. The designs, chosen from among scores of submissions, are presented to the Tournament of Roses for approval on theme draft day in February.

Self-built floats are usually humorous, though Downey often creates scenes simply for the beauty, such as 2016’s “Exploring the Everglades.” The 2020 float, “Wings of Hope,” features orgami cranes flying over a Japanese garden. The concept was inspired by a project at East Middle School that, like the students in Sadako and the Thousand Cranes, had a goal of folding 1,000 paper cranes to be given to patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Burbank also has a more serious theme this year. “Rise Up” depicts a phoenix rising from the ashes, a reminder of the fires that tore through areas of Northern California last year. President Ginny Barnett said she had friends in the almost completely destroyed city of Paradise. The phoenix represents the hope those caught up in the fires have for the future. She said this design is unusual for a Burbank float, which is usually about fun.

The 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage will be honored by South Pasadena with “Victory at Last.” The victory was the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in 1920. A gigantic straw hat decorated with feathers, flowers, and a campaign button dominates the float in a star-spangled celebration of a watershed event in American history.

“We’re trying to be as non-political as possible,” the presenter said. The Rose Examiner hopes that votes for women is no longer a political issue!

La Cañada Flintridge, whose floats are always highly animated, went to the birds with “Dodo Bird Flight School.” Penguins and an emu are also enrolled, but it’s doubtful they will have much success launching off the giant blimp. The emu, strapped to a da Vinci screw on a satellite float, may have the best shot.

Sierra Madre had a model of their float, “Ka La Hiki Ola” (The Dawning of a New Day) on display and will produce the rendering later. There will be a waterfall at the rear, and lots of tikis, and birds rising off the float.

The design draft for Cal Poly Universities was not yet ready, but we look forward to seeing it in the future. Visit All Things Rose Parade on Facebook to get updates on the Tournament of Roses.

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Floral Design award winners in the 2018 Rose Parade

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
Award 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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