Float Design award winners in the 2018 Rose Parade

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
Award 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

Note: Write up in the Grand Marshal article.

Crown City Innovator for most outstanding use of imagination, innovation, and technology The Grand Tour–An Amazon Prime Original “Make Your Own Momentum” Paradiso Parade Floats, Charles Meier
Grand Marshal’s for most outstanding creative concept and float design Dole Packaged Foods “Sharing Nature’s Bounty” Fiesta Parade Floats, Stanley Meyer
Fantasy for most outstanding display of fantasy and imagination Sierra Madre Rose Float Association “Chivalry!” Self Built, Joanne Garcia (concept)
Animation for most outstanding use of animation Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DigAlert) “Making It Safe for All” Fiesta Parade Floats, Stanley Meyer
Americana for most outstanding depiction of national treasures and traditions Farmers Insurance Group “Honoring Hometown Heroes” Phoenix Decorating Company, Dave Pittman
Golden State for most outstanding depiction of life in California City of Riverside “25th Annual Festival of Lights” Fiesta Parade Floats, Stanley Meyer
Mayor for most outstanding floral display from a participating city Torrance Rose Float Association “Protecting Nature…The Madrona Marsh Preserve” Fiesta Parade Floats, Irene Tsay (concept) & Art Aguirre

Burgers and camaraderie at self-built float picnic

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.

Self-builders share picnic goodies and 2018 float renderings

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.