Nuggets from Rose Parade Decorating Places and Showcase of Floats, 2017

by Laura Berthold Monteros

Beverly Bliss and Kevin Monroe at Decorating Places
Beverly Bliss and Kevin Monroe at Decorating Places

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.

Bryce Hicks, a Tournament of Roses intern, at Decorating Places
Tournament of Roses intern Bryce Hicks at Decorating Places

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.”


All photos are copyright LB Monteros