Burbank and Sikh American floats had stories to tell in the 2020 Rose Parade

by Laura Berthold Monteros

For The Rose Examiner, the week between Boxing Day and the Showcase of Floats is packed with preparations for the Tournament of Roses Parade and visits to the barns to see the floats in the final stages. We especially like being able to talk to some of the people who are working on the floats.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a couple weeks since we spoke with folks during Deco Week. We had conversations with Linda Cozakos and Erik C. Andersen at Burbank Tournament of Roses Association, and Harry Gill and Maninder Minu Singh, creative director of the Sikh American Float Foundation, in the Phoenix Decorating Company barn.

Be sure to check out the photos in the gallery below for the two floats in progress

Burbank “Rise Up”

Erik C. Andersen and Linda Cozakos explain the various choices of botanicals for the beak of the phoenix on “Rise Up.”

Burbank’s 88th Rose Parade entry won the Leishman Public Spirit Award for most outstanding floral design and display from a non-commercial participant. In keeping with the parade theme “The Power of Hope,” the float depicted a giant phoenix being reborn from the ashes of the 8,527 wildfires that destroyed 1,893,913 acres of homes, businesses, farmland, and wildland in California 2018. A waterfall in front, surrounded by lush vegetation, offered hope that the land will be renewed.

Named “Paradise” in honor of the town that was nearly wiped out in the Camp Fire—two of designer Lisa Long’s nephews battled the fire there—the bird’s body rose and fell and head turned side to side. In a first for Burbank, three fireballs shot out of the tail feathers.

We talked to Cozakos and Andersen about the florals used for the colors and textures on the phoenix. Floral decorators always keep an eye out for new materials or ways to use old ones, and the beak of the bird had a rather unusual choice.

Cozakos said the frilly acorn caps lining the top of the beak can only be found in Griffith Park on one particular tree. One of the members of BTORA discovered them and has returned to collect them as needed. Mustard seed, fava beans, dried mango, and two purple potatoes for nostrils completed the beak, with vermilion Chinese lanterns around the eyes.

The feathers on the face and body were whole magnolia leaves and palm leaves that had been torn into thin strips. The leaves were covered with ground yellow and orange marigolds, sumac, and paprika to simulate the fiery colors of the phoenix.

Remembering a different kind of tragedy, roses with the names of the Saugus High School shooting victims attached were on the float, as well as dried agapanthus from the school. The roses will be returned to the parents after the parade.

Sikh American “Planting Seeds of Hope”

Harry Gill and Minu Singh stand before the Sikh American float.

The theme of the Sikh American float was realized with a fanciful garden and rotating carousel filled with children of various ethnicities. Through selfless service to humanity with love, respect, compassion, and humility, Sikhs hope to nurture an environment in which children can grow and thrive.

A sculpture of  Bhai Ghaneya Singh sat at the front, pouring water out of a leather bag. Bhai Ghaneya was a compassionate man who carried water to the troops in the 1704 war of Anandpur Sahib. Harry Gill told us the story behind the image.

Bhai Ghaneya gave water to both the Sikhs and their Mughal enemies, thus planting seeds of love. For this, he was brought before Guru Gobind Singh. Bhai Ghaneya’s defense was “I see God in every one of them.” The Guru replied, “Give everyone water and also apply medicine on their wounds,” Gill said. “He’s the forerunner of the Red Cross, more than 300 years ago.”

Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, said “there is only one God of the whole world; the same light shines in every person,” Gill said, regardless of color, creed, or gender. “Even emperors are born of women.”

Award winning-floats in the 2020 Tournament of Roses Parade

Deco Week galleries

 

 

 

3 Rose Parade Deco Week photo galleries—self-builts, AES, Phoenix, Fiesta

South Pasadena does not have a float barn, and builds the float under the only concrete bridge designed by architects Charles and Henry Greene.

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Your Rose Examiner spent three consecutive days walking the float barns, and came back with tons of photos. For these galleries, I’ve chosen one of each float, shots I particularly like, just to give a flavor of the process and introduce readers to the floats that will glide along the Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2020.

The barns and decorating sites were pretty packed and the decorators were working furiously to get the dry dec on. I managed to fit in two conversations, one with Erik C. Andersen and Linda Cozakos at Burbank Tournament of Roses Association., and one with Harry Gill and Minu Singh at the Sikh American float in the Phoenix Decorating Company barn.

Photos in Gallery A were taken on Dec. 28 and 29, and include AES and five self-built floats (we didn’t go down to the Downey float barn). Gallery B was taken on Dec. 30 at Phoenix Decorating Company. Gallery C was also taken on Dec. 30, at Fiesta Parade Floats.

 

Deco Week Gallery A

Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn., La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., AES, Cal Poly Universities, South Pasadena Rose Float Assn., Burbank Rose Float Assn.

Deco Week Gallery B

Phoenix Decorating Company

Deco Week Gallery C

Fiesta Parade Floats

Photos: 24 award-winning floats in the 2019 Tournament of Roses Parade

“Spend Your Life Living” in the S.S. Elephie by Northwestern Mutual won the Bob Hope Humor Award

by Laura Berthold Monteros

In anticipation of the upcoming 131st Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2020, The Rose Examiner has put together a collection of photos of the award-winning floats that glided along the Rose Parade route in 2019. Take a look at the stunning and gorgeous creations that won in 24 contests.

We’ve split the photos into two galleries to avoid overwhelming our readers. Each photo is captioned with its award, sponsor, title, builder, and designer. Comments on the winners and descriptions of the awards in table form are in the article “Rose Parade 2019 float awards; The UPS Store takes Sweepstakes.”

All photos are copyrighted; contact The Rose Examiner  for permissions.

Gallery A: Sweepstakes and Float Design categories

Gallery B: Entertainment Value and Floral Design categories

List of floats in the 2020 Rose Parade with titles, builders, designers

Chinese American Heritage Foundation 2020 Rose Parade Float

The Chinese American Heritage Foundation returns to the Rose Parade with a tribute to WWII Congressional Gold Medal honorees.

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

As promised, here is the most complete public listing of the floats that will appear in the 131st Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1, 2020. The chart below lists the sponsor, title, builder, and designer for each of the 42 floats. The awards presented in 2019 are also noted.

New sponsors this year are General Society of Mayflower Descendants, celebrating 400 years since Plymouth Rock; Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, for its centennial; Pasadena Celebrates 2020, the centennial of the 19th Amendment; The Cowboy Channel, to promote its upcoming rodeo in Madison Square Garden; The SCAN Foundation; and Wescom Credit Union. Long-time sponsors who were in the 2019 parade are all returning, but still absent are Lucy Pet, Miracle-Gro, Singpoli, and the City of Los Angeles. Also missing are 24 Hour Fitness and the American Armenian Rose Float Association.

There are 39 sponsored entries, six of them self-built, and three Tournament of Roses entries, including the Royal Court float and two floats for the schools playing in the 106th Rose Bowl Game. Phoenix decorating company tops the numbers with 18 floats, followed by Fiesta with 11 and AES with five, seven if they build the team floats, which they have done in the past.

The most prolific designer is Michelle Lofthouse of Phoenix Decorating, with 18 entries. Sometimes, designers cross boundaries and create concepts for more than one commercial builder, but this year, they break down by company: AES, John Ramirez (4); Fiesta, Michael Abboud (4), Stanley Meyer (3), Art Aguirre (2), Charles Meier (2); Phoenix, Michelle Lofthouse (17), Rachel Lofthouse (3).

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131st Tournament of Roses Parade Floats

Sponsor Title Builder Designer 2019 Award
AIDS Healthcare Foundation “Hope for the Homeless” Fiesta Parade Floats Art Aguirre
Amazon Studios “Troop Zero” AES John Ramirez
American Honda Motor Company “Our Hope for the Future” AES John Ramirez
Blue Diamond Almonds “The Best Almonds Make the Best Almondmilk” AES John Ramirez
Burbank Tournament of Roses Association “Rise Up” Self-Built Lisa Long Animation
Cal Poly Universities “Aquatic Aspirations” Self-Built Student designed Extraordinaire
China Airlines “Dreams of Flying, Wings of Hope” AES John Ramirez International
Chinese American Heritage Foundation (CAHF) “American Heroes” Fiesta Parade Floats Mike Abboud
Chipotle Mexican Grill “Cultivate the Future of Farming” Fiesta Parade Floats Mike Abboud
City of Alhambra, CA “Hope Keeps Us Going” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse Princess
City of Hope “City of Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse President
City of Torrance “Our Garden of Hope and Dreams” Fiesta Parade Floats Art Aguirre Tournament Volunteer
Dole Packaged Foods “Sunshine for All” Fiesta Parade Floats Mike Abboud Wrigley Legacy
Donate Life “Light in the Darkness” Fiesta Parade Floats Charles Meier Judges
Downey Rose Float Association “On the Wings of Hope” Self-Built Thom Neighbors, Carrie Redfox
Farmers Insurance “Conveyor of Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company Rachel Lofthouse Queen
General Society of Mayflower Descendants “The Voyage of Hope – 1620” Fiesta Parade Floats Mike Abboud
Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens “Cultivating Curiosity” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
Kaiser Permanente “Courage to Reimagine” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer
Kiwanis International “Soaring with Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association “Dodo Bird Flight School” Self-Built Ted Baumgart, Grant Delgatty Founder
Lions Clubs International “Hope for 2020” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
Lutheran Laymen’s League “Anchored in Jesus” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day “Plant a Garden…Believe in Tomorrow” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse Americana
Northwestern Mutual “Spend Your Life Living” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Bob Hope Humor
Odd Fellows Rebekahs Rose Float “First Responders Bring Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
Pasadena Celebrates 2020 “Years of Hope, Years  of Courage” AES AES
Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee “Hope Connects the World” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
Shriners Hospitals for Children “Hope Knows No Limits” Phoenix Decorating Company Rachel Lofthouse Theme
Sierra Madre Rose Float Association “Ka lā hiki ola” Self-Built Jason Redfox Director
Sikh American Float Foundation “Planting Seeds of Hope” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse Isabella Coleman
South Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association “Victory at Last” Self-Built Michael Mera Mayor
The Cowboy Channel “Walk Ride Rodeo” Phoenix Decorating Company Rachel Lofthouse
The SCAN Foundation “Hope’s Heroes” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
The UPS Store, Inc. “Stories Change Our World” Fiesta Parade Floats Charles Meier Sweepstakes
Tournament of Roses 2020 Royal Court Phoenix Decorating Company Preston Bailey
Tournament of Roses Rose Bowl Game Team: University of Oregon N/A N/A
Tournament of Roses Rose Bowl Game Team: University of Wisconsin N/A N/A
Trader Joe’s “It Takes a Flight of Fancy” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse Crown City Innovator
Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DIGALERT) “The Power of Safety FIRST” Fiesta Parade Floats Stanley Meyer Past President
Wescom Credit Union “Better Together: Hope Creates Community” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse
Western Asset Management Company “Growing a Better Tomorrow” Phoenix Decorating Company Michelle Lofthouse Fantasy

Visiting the float barns during 2019 Rose Parade Deco Week

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The Rose Examiner dropped in on the three float barns last Friday and Saturday to see the progress of the creations at the commercial builders and to talk to some of the folks doing the decorating. The 130th Tournament of Roses Parade happens on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, so the decorators—almost all volunteers—were busy cutting statice, powdering rice, gluing on flowers, and filling vials.

Be sure to check out the gallery below to see the progress all those volunteers were making.

Making the rounds at Phoenix Decorating Company

Ryan Young with the Farmers Insurance float.

Our trip started off with a bang at Phoenix Decorating Company in Irwindale. We had just walked in the door when a sound like an I-beam hitting the floor split the air. Those cavernous float barns echo, so it turned out it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. There had been a small explosion under the Trader Joe’s float. The folks at Phoenix reacted immediately, with crew chiefs hurrying the decorators off the scaffolding and away from the float.

“Go back to your floats, go back to your floats!” the other volunteers were ordered. Everyone complied, because after all, those floats had to be covered with flowers in less than four days.

We asked a man who had been waiting to work on the Kiwanis float if it was scary. “It certainly was,” he said. Another man suggested that the sulphur-scented smoke we noticed might well be just dust and glue, and we returned to our tour of the floats

At the Farmers Insurance float, “A Carousel of Experience,” we met Ryan Young, a Philadelphia transplant. He’s only been in Pasadena for a few months, and already he was fully into the experience of decorating a float.

“I didn’t realize the scale,” he said, comparing the TV version and the real thing. “It’s neat to see it coming together.”

Young works in procurement for Farmers, which is a good match for his role on the float. He said his job is to be a runner, getting whatever anyone working on the float needs.

At the United Sikh Mission float, “A Divine Melody Resonates in All,” we ran into creative director Minu Singh, whom we spoke with last year. The float features a giant rabab, which she said was the first Sikh instrument. It was used by Guru Nanak to spread his message of the oneness of all though his poems and songs.

“Everything in our holy book is music,” Singh said. “Every time we congregate, it’s about singing.” She spoke of an “eternal cosmic symphony.” “Every bit of creation is part of the symphony,” she said.

A few blocks north at Fiesta Parade Floats

Tejinder and Simran cut statice for the United Sikh Mission float at Phoenix Decorating Company.

We got to Fiesta Parade Floats around lunch time, and most of the volunteers were up on the floats or scaffolds so we stuck to taking pictures. We did notice that there were a couple towering humans looking down from the decks, though.

Lono, the Hawaiian god of music and peace and the deity associated with the fertile lands of the Hawaiian Islands stands at the front of “Rhythms of Paradise,” the Dole Packaged Foods float. Stella Rosa lets the genie out of the (wine) bottle with “Taste of Magic.” (Others are on the American Armenian float at Phoenix and AES’ 24 Hour Fitness float.)

“Harmony Through Union,” the first entry from the Chinese American Heritage Foundation, doesn’t have a whole human, but it does have two spectacularly huge arms, one holding a mallet and the other a golden spike to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the historic meeting of the eastern and western portions of the Transcontinental Railroad in Promontory, Utah on May 10, 1869, and to celebrate the contributions of immigrants.

Rosemont Pavilion

Denise Godfrey and Emma McGregor at the Cal Poly Universities float.

Previously used by Phoenix Decorating Company, Rosemont Pavilion now holds the AES floats for final decorating, as well as Cal Poly Universities and the FTD vehicle decorating. We were able to strike up a couple conversations at the floats. Check back after the Rose Parade for more about the four vehicles that will carry the celebrities in the parade.

At the Cal Poly float, “Far Out Frequencies,” we were given a California Grown sticker, which indicates that 85 percent of the floral material on the float was grown in California. Denise Godfrey was there with her daughter Emma McGregor. Their family business, Olive Hill Greenhouses, was founded by Godfrey’s parents in 1973. They have been supplying indoor plants to Cal Poly for about four years.

At the Chipotle Mexican Grill float, “Cultivate a Better World,” we found Russ Wimmer and Aida Bueno busily mixing spices to cover the float. And that is mostly what will cover the float. Wimmer told us that Chipotle insisted that only the 51 ingredients used at their restaurants can be used on the floats.

Red is created with a mixture of fresh chili pepper flakes and chili powder. The wood is brown rice instead of the usual paper bark, and juniper berries, oregano, lemon leaf, and corn husks are seen throughout the float. Baskets laid out around the deck like a vegetable stand will be filled with fresh produce. The only roses will be a red edging around the bottom and white spray roses tucked into a garland of red chili peppers. The Tournament of Roses granted a variance to allow a wheelchair lift at the back to remain uncovered.

For a list of all the floats with builders and designers, read “Rose Parade 2019 float entries.”

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All photos copyright LB Monteros. Contact administrator for permissions.

 

Conversations in the Rose Parade float barns

by Laura Berthold Monteros

We dropped into a couple float barns this week to get a look at the floats in their final stages. First was the new spacious and bright headquarters of Phoenix Decorating Company in Irwindale. Man-of-many-hats Chuck Hayes introduced us to assistant volunteer coordinator Jay DeCastro, who has worked for float companies since 1986, and Maryann Griffin who told us she “absolutely loves” being around people and ensuring they are welcome.

The next day, we went to Rosemont Pavilion in Pasadena, which has been used by many float builders over the years. This year, Paradiso Parade Floats and Cal Poly Universities drove their entries from the far east San Gabriel Valley to finish up the floral on their floats. The cars that will carry the dignitaries are being decorated there, too; more on that to come.

In the Phoenix Decorating Company barn

Laura Farber

Laura Farber, who will have her turn as president of the Tournament of Roses in 2020 greeted us by the Theme Banner float. Asked if she was preparing for the 131st Rose Parade, she said, “Yeah. That’s what we do!” She has her theme (big secret) and has a list of potential Grand Marshals (bigger secret). “We have an eight-year build-up,” she said, referring to the Tournament’s executive committee ladder, from vice president to secretary, treasurer, executive vice president, and finally president.

“The last four years go by super quickly,” she said, adding that she’s getting ready early because she is an “excessive planner.” She said it will be fun to do the job from a different perspective as the third woman president and first Latina.

“We’re trying to expand outreach to the global community…. We’re talking to people Continue reading “Conversations in the Rose Parade float barns”

Phoenix Decorating Company chosen to design gateway arch to Arroyo Seco Weekend: New Photos

An enchanted passage into the Arroyo, designed by Phoenix Decorating Company and covered in all natural botanicals. Photo c.2017 Carlos Monteros

 

by Laura Berthold Monteros

The excitement was apparent in publicist Chuck Hayes’ voice when we talked on the phone this evening about Phoenix Decorating Company’s latest build. The most prolific float builder for the Tournament of Roses Parade, the company was tapped by Goldenvoice to build an entry archway for the Arroyo Seco Weekend coming up this Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25. It’s a classic Rose Parade rendition of a Pasadena icon, the Spanish Colonial Revival City Hall. The Spanish tile dome and copper-clad cupola perches on a 20-foot-wide sculpture patterned after the rotunda arches.

In classic float style, the Tournament of Roses Archway is covered in botanical materials chosen by COO and Floral Director Lyn Lofthouse. She used light lettuce seed, poppy seed, ground onion seed, coconut, powdered rice, lima beans, navy beans, black beans, and strawflower. Hayes also gave credit to Production Manager Sean McMinimy and the skilled crew at Phoenix in completing the project.

Phoenix Decorating Company President and CEO Chris Lofthouse stated, “Phoenix Decorating Company was honored to be asked to create the Arroyo Seco Weekend Archway in the style of a Rose Parade Float by Goldenvoice, it is our hope that the people who visit the festival will return on January 1, 2018 to see our floats in the Rose Parade.”

Entry archway for Arroyo Seco Weekend being towed into the Rose Bowl area. Courtesy Phoenix Decorating Company.
Entry archway for Arroyo Seco Weekend being towed into the Rose Bowl area. Courtesy Phoenix Decorating Company.

While only a few people can ride on a Rose Parade float, thousands of people will get a taste of the experience as they enter the festival through the decorated arch over the two days. The freestanding piece stands 20 feet high with arches 13 feet high and 13 feet wide. It weighs more than 2,000 pounds. It was towed from the float barn in Irwindale on a flatbed, with the dome lying beside the arch.

Hayes chuckled, “You know we don’t like tows!” The company usually drives the floats from parade route to the float barn—and no builder likes an emergency tow during the Rose Parade—but in this case, the logistics of getting the piece down into the low-lying Rose Bowl area required a bit of help.

An artist’s concept of the arch is on the Arroyo Seco Weekend site. The family-friendly event includes activities at Kidspace, several stages for bands, and several art installations. Readers can follow Phoenix on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PhoenixDecoratingCo