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.
NOTE: This is a reposting of an article that appeared on Examiner.com on Jan. 9, 2014. It is being reposted in honor of the women who rode the float, all of whom have now taken their final flights.
When the Wingtip to Wingtip float passed the stands, Rose Parade viewers spontaneously stood to honor the women who undergirded the Allied air supremacy in World War II. “Our Eyes Are on the Stars” was built by Fiesta Parade Floats for the 2014 parade to commemorate the WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) units that were disbanded 70 years ago. It won the National Trophy for Best Depiction of Life in the USA, Past, Present or Future.
Out of several thousand applicants, 1,102 were chosen to fly military aircraft all over the United States. They ferried planes from builder to base, tested aircraft for the boys to fly in battle, and flew tow targets to train gunners. The WASP flew 77 different types of American military planes, including AT-6, P-52 and B-29, more than 60 million miles. Thirty-eight gave their lives.
Roses seem appropriate for any occasion, and never more so than in the Tournament of Roses Parade. Some float sponsors offer people an opportunity to remember a loved one by purchasing a memorial rose that is placed on their float. With the theme of the 2018 Rose Parade being “Making a Difference,” what better way to remember someone who made a difference in the lives they touched!
Each rose has a tag for the name of the honoree and a short dedication. Donate Life and Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are featured in this article, but as others come up, we will add them.
“The Gift of Time,” designed and built by Paradiso Parade Floats, is Donate Life’s entry. The float honors both organ donors and recipients. Roses can be dedicated to donors, families, recipients, and those waiting for transplants by using the online form until Dec. 20. Current donations are listed here. This will be the organization’s 15th year in the Rose Parade.
Odd Fellows and Rebekahs have sponsored floats for 66 years. The 2018 entry, “Sacrifice to Serve,” honors recipients of the Purple Heart and will feature riders who have received the medal. Prospective riders can download the 2018 Rider Application before Aug. 3. The 2018 Memorial Garden order form is not yet posted, but will be on the rose float site soon.
Usually I’m on the button side of the camera. Yesterday, I was the subject.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
It was a beautiful, move-to-California day at Tournament House yesterday, where I had the pleasure of being interviewed by composer and filmmaker Karl Preusser (behind the camera at left) for a documentary. Float is the story of how a self-built Rose Parade float gets from design to deconstruct, focusing on Burbank Tournament of Roses Association. Preusser and his wife have volunteered with BTORA for seven years, and he has recently moved up from the flower cage to learning welding. His wife served one year as decorating chair, a job that requires estimating and rounding up the botanical materials for a float.
Preusser had originally thought to do a sort of reality show, but he soon discovered that there is more camaraderie than conflict among the builders, which doesn’t make for a lot of drama. Competition for the float awards is tempered by the attitude that everyone, professional companies and self-built associations alike, have a shared goal of putting on a beautiful and entertaining parade. In many ways, the Rose Parade is still a hometown event.
Our conversation ranged over the history of the Tournament of Roses to the differences among various builders, the accommodations locals are willing to make to support the Rose Parade, and why it is such a special event. I like to talk, so it went on a couple hours, and I don’t envy Preusser the job of editing it down to a few minutes. His aim is to get the film ready to submit to the Sundance Film Festival by August. My piece was one of the last to fit in.
I don’t know that I had much original information, but I can opine on of what it is that makes the Rose Parade so exceptional, so enticing to 80 million viewers around the world and 700,000 along the parade route. When I interviewed R. Scott Jenkins, president of the 2014 Tournament of Roses, he talked about the Macy’s Parade and the huge balloons and Broadway acts. “What makes us unique in my view is floral-covered floats….That’s what puts us on the map.” I responded, “It’s that the Rose Parade has a soul.”
Self-built floats are entries that are designed and built entirely by volunteer organizations, or in the case of Cal Poly Universities, schools. Here are the six organizations that grace the Rose Parade every year:
At the annual Self-Built Floats picnic on May 6, 2017, folks huddled under canopies to nosh on burgers and potluck.
by Laura Berthold Monteros
Self-Built float associations may compete for trophies in the Tournament of Roses Parade, but there is a lot of camaraderie and mutual aid among the volunteers and students who build the entries. Of the 40 to 45 flower-covered floats, all but six are built by professional float companies. The six associations take turns hosting an annual potluck get-together to display the renderings and share stories. The Rose Examiner was honored to attend today’s event, in anticipation of the 129th Rose Parade to be held on Jan. 1, 2018.
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association hosted barbecue at Los Angeles County Fire Camp 2, a training facility tucked between the Jet Propulsion Lab and Hahamongna Watershed Park. Tables were filled with potluck sides and desserts while LCFTRA volunteers grilled burgers and hot dogs. A fragrant log fire warmed our hands in the steady rain. It was the end of a typical spring week in Southern California, which saw sunny 90-degree-plus days in the first half of the week drop to 60 degrees for the weekend.
The six self-builders are Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, Cal Poly Universities, Downey Rose Float Association, La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association, Sierra Madre Rose Float Association, and South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. DRFA and SPTORA were unable to make picnic, but we have photos of the rest.
It was 2011 when we first wrote about the California Grown credential awarded by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). The California Clock Company contacted us about their 2012 Rose Parade float celebrating their 80th anniversary and their most famous product, the ubiquitous Kit-Cat clock. They insisted on floral materials that were grown in California, and along with Cal Poly Universities, achieved California Grown status. In order to be certified, 85 percent of the floral materials on an entry must be grown in the Golden State.
By 2017, three floats and the Tournament of Roses vehicles carrying Rose Parade honorees, received certification, despite the years-long drought that plagued California agriculture until early 2017. The floats were Miracle-Gro “Everything’s Coming Up Roses,” Cal Poly Universities “A New Leaf,” and California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) “Legacy of Generations.” We were able to attend the ceremonies at Fiesta Parade Floats for Miracle-Gro and CMAB, but there are photos of all the honorees below, along with links to more extensive articles on the Tournament of Roses entries.
Lance Tibbet, president of the 129th Tournament of Roses, presented the just-issued Sweepstakes cup to Dole Packaged foods for its 2017 float, “Spirit of Hawaii.” L-R, Dole Packaged Foods Pres. Brad Bartlett, VP Marketing David Spare, Fiesta Parade Floats Pres. Tim Estes, and Tibbet. All photos copyright LB Monteros
by Laura Berthold Monteros
With an unprecedented run of garnering the prestigious Tournament of Roses Sweepstakes award for six of the last seven years, Dole Packaged Foods had another first on Tuesday when the company was presented with the new silver Sweepstakes cup. The award was for the 2017 Rose Parade entry “Spirit of Hawaii,” a gorgeous tribute to the Dole relationship with that state. Lance Tibbet, president of the 129th Tournament of Roses that will be held on Jan. 1, 2018, made the presentation at DPF headquarters in Westlake Village.
Vice President of Marketing David Spare used the occasion to announce that Dole will sponsor an eighth entry in the 2018 parade, which has the theme “Making a Difference.” He said, “The theme is terrific and timely, and fits with the things Dole is doing [to help people] along the way.” The goal is always to create the most beautiful float possible, he said, praising the contribution
s of Tim Estes, president and Jim Hynd, VP and floral director of Fiesta Parade floats, as well as the Dole associates who decorate the float.
Brad Bartlett, president of Dole Packaged Foods, said he is humbled to be presented with the Sweepstakes Trophy. “We’re proud to be a part of the Tournament of Roses,” he said. “A brand is difficult to maintain over 129 years. We’re 166 years old. It fits very well with who our company is.”
When an attraction is frequented by more locals than tourists, it’s a sign of a great event. Decorating Places, presented by Giti Tires in the days just preceding the Tournament of Roses Parade, allows fans to see the final floral touches put on the magnificent creations. Showcase of Floats, presented by Miracle-Gro, is where the finished floats are on display immediately after the Rose Parade, and for the following day or two. Both are popular with residents and visitors to the Pasadena area.
We got a few shots at those events in the days just before and after the parade, talked to a couple people, and learned a lot. Check out the gallery below for a glimpse into these two must-do events. More photos to come, with the articles on each float. All the floats at Decorating Places were designed and built by Paradiso Parade Floats.
At the Donate Life float “Teammates in Life,” we spoke with crew chief Kevin Monroe and Beverly Bliss of RTI Donor Services. Monroe, who donated a kidney to his brother Elliott, said, “This is a special float. You won’t see another one like it.” He noted that Donate Life floats, with their floragraphs of deceased organ donors, has been in the Rose Parade for 14 years.
Bliss has worked with organ and tissue donation for about 30 years, beginning with the Red Cross. She said she “helps out with anything.” Part of her impetus is that when her father passed away years ago, there was no tissue bank outside the Navy in San Diego.
Over at the UPS “Books Bring Us Together” float, we spoke with Bryce Hicks, a junior at nearby Occidental College and an intern for the TOR. The chemistry major said that today was extra work, beyond his usual assignment.
“The Tournament of Roses has been a big part of my childhood,” he said. “I’m going to be working on Parade Ops on parade day,” he said. He will also be involved in the drone flyover for the press, shooing people off the street, and collecting the white suiters’ scooters after the parade. “It’s a good gig. I’m excited.”
Dole Packaged Foods once again won the Sweepstakes Trophy for “most beautiful entry in parade with outstanding floral presentation and design,” its sixth in seven years of Rose Parade participation. Newcomer Netflix took home the Craftsman Trophy for “exceptional achievement in showmanship and dramatic impact for floats longer than 55 feet” with a two-part creation in the 128th Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 2, 2017, “Echoes of Success.”
Be sure to check out the gallery below for detailed descriptions of flowering and riders.
“Soar Beyond Imagination,” designed by John Ramirez and built by AES, was essentially a promotion for The Little Prince, a family-friendly feature produced for Netflix. The float reflected the charm of the book on which the film was based and the whimsy of the film. The front float
presented the Little Prince on his personal planet with his beautiful red rose. The second float is straight from the movie, with the aviator from the book now an aged man, living with his memories. The theme was chosen “because success and imagination are inextricably linked,” Netflix says, “And, of course, you can’t ignore that a main character in The Little Prince is The Rose!”
“Spirit of Hawaii,” like previous Dole Packaged Foods floats, honors the places where Dole products are grown. Many of the materials used in the decoration came from Hawaii, including the fresh leis and head leis for the dancers, drummers, and riders. Designed by Stanley Meyer and built by Fiesta Parade floats, the float celebrated the history and legend of Hawaii with a 10-foot copy of the statue of King Kamehameha, bedecked with fresh leis, and the fire goddess and creator Pele holding flames in her hands. A 28-foot-tall working volcano and several waterfalls, including a 10-foot-wide cascade, created excitement. Unfortunately, the waterworks were not running as it went by camera corner. For more about Dole, including interviews, read “Dole Packaged Foods give employees a taste of Hawaii.”
All photos are copyrighted. Contact Administrator for permissions.
We have often been told that the Rose Parade makes a difference in people’s lives, from the folks who take a trip to Pasadena to cross an item off their bucket list to the kids who march in the bands. It’s fitting, then that the theme President Lance Tibbet has chosen for the 129th Tournament of Roses Parade is “Making a Difference.” The parade will be held on Monday, Jan. 1, 2018. Here’s the information you need to get a place in a grandstand for yourself, and a place in a lot for your car.
We’ll be posting information on all the Tournament of Roses events and how to do them between now and December. Subscribe to TheRoseExaminer.com by filling in the box in the upper left to get email notifications.