Rose Parade floats
Floats for the New Year's Day Tournament of Roses Parade evolved from flower-decorated horse carriages. The floats are required to be covered with plant material, living or dead. Originally the Tournament of Roses Parade floats were created solely by volunteers from sponsoring communities. Currently, most are built by professional float building companies, and take nearly a year to construct. Some communities and organizational sponsors, such as the City of Burbank, the City of Downey, City of South Pasadena, the City of Sierra Madre, the City of La Cañada Flintridge and the Cal Poly Universities, are referred to as "self-built floats" as they design, construct and decorate their floats solely on volunteer hours. Self built floats look for help year round and are usually willing to teach many skills.
The 2010 parade floats included Boy Scouts of America, Consulate General of Mexico in Los Angeles, New Mexico Tourism Department, Phoenix Satellite Television (U.S.) Inc., Roundtable of Southern California/Shanghai World Expo, and Safety Harbor Kids. The 2010 parade also featured a 113-foot-long (34 m) float from Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance Pet Foods, which set a Guinness world record for longest single-chassis float. The City of West Covina paid tribute to the "service and commitment of the Tuskegee Airmen" with a float, entitled Tuskegee Airmen – A Cut Above, which featured a large bald eagle, two replica World War II "Redtails" fighter planes and historical images of some of the airmen who served their country. The float won the Mayor's trophy as the most outstanding city entry – national or international.
- 1 Modern-day process
- 2 Viewing float decorating
- 3 Quantity of flowers
- 4 Post-parade: A Showcase of Floats
- 5 Judging
- 6 Notable recent floats
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
After the parade, floats are stripped to their chassis. Structural steel elements are reused where possible; organic materials and sculptural steel are recycled.
Shortly after each year's parade is over, and the next year's parade theme is announced, the parade sponsors and participating communities start to plan their floats for the following year. A "theme draft" meeting is held in mid-February where builders select their float theme. The Tournament assures that there are not too many similar floats.
Characters and other objects on the float are created as separate elements to add later, consisting of a framework of steel and chicken wire. The chassis has beams and steel rod welded to it to support a mesh cover. The float is then "cocooned" in the next process; it is sprayed with a polyvinyl material which acts as a base for inserting decoration. This base is painted with the colors of the flowers to be applied to the float.
Every square inch of the exposed surface of a float entered in the parade must be covered with flowers or other natural materials. These other decorative applicants include bark, seed and leaves. Decorating with the non-perishable materials is performed first. In the days following Christmas, the live additions to the float are applied by volunteers or hired workers. Delicate flowers are placed in individual vials of water and set into the float one-by-one. The Tournament of Roses is the largest consumer of flowers in the world, and flowers arrive from all over the world.
Many floats, along with their drive train, include computer-controlled robotic mechanisms to animate the floats. Most float drivers can only see the ground below them. An observer communicates by intercom to the driver. Most observers are hidden within the float and have limited visibility. Each float has a Tournament Member (Float Liaison) assigned to it who shepherds the float from the float barn to the formation area and down the parade route. Most ride on motor scooters although some walk. The Float Liaisons communicate with the float's observer by hand signals. At the two corners other Tournament Members direct the floats in addition to the Float Liaisons.
It is estimated that it takes 60 volunteers working 10 hours a day for 10 days to decorate one float.
- 20 daisies, 30 roses or 36 marigolds will cover one square foot of a float area
- Over 500,000 roses (in vials) used in the parade
- 15 tons of steel along with 10,000 feet (3,000 m) of chicken wire for the framework of a float
- 600 tons of steel, 5,000 gallons of glue and 18 million flowers are used to make the floats each year
- 935 “white-suiters” spent 80,000 hours to manpower and plan the parade
- Floats must collapse to no more than 16.5 ft (5.0 m). high, to pass under a freeway overpass
- Natural materials, such as bark, seeds, leaves and flowers, shall cover the floats
- Twenty-four awards for some 50 float entries
- Length of parade is 5.5 miles (8.9 km), about 2.25 hours long at 2.5 miles (4.0 km) per hour pace
Viewing float decorating
After Christmas one can view many of the floats being decorated with flowery mantles, in the various "float barns" that dot the Pasadena area and communities to the east.
Admission is charged for viewing the floats at the various sites. The four float decorating places are Rose Palace, Rosemont Pavilion, Brookside Pavilion, and the Irwindale Pavilion, in the City of Irwindale, California.
Approximately 120,000 visitors attended the three-day event in 2009.
Quantity of flowers
While many distinct changes have taken place with the Festival's floats, including computer-aided movement and professional float building, the floats have kept true to the event's title and heritage, by using real, fresh flowers. The cost of flowers is included in the total cost of the float and paid for by the float sponsor.
Post-parade: A Showcase of Floats
Presented by Miracle-Gro, the Showcase is a paid admission area where the floats are displayed after the parade, for close-up viewing. The floats are parked along Sierra Madre and Washington Boulevards in Pasadena, near Pasadena High School and Victory Park, for three hours after the parade. On the day after the parade (occasionally two days when January 3 falls on Saturday or Sunday), the first two early morning hours (7-9) are reserved for seniors and the disabled, and the rest of day's worth of viewing for the general public.
A fair-like environment with food and souvenir vending stands is created for public enjoyment. Handicap access and assistance is provided. Some of the animated floats are put on display with their animation running.
Three civic and floral industry leaders evaluate the floats and hand out prizes to the participating floats in 24 categories. The top prize for the parade is the Sweepstakes Trophy, the most beautiful entry, which in 2008 was won by Rain Bird International's entry of "Preservation Celebration", built by Fiesta Parade Floats. Recent year judges:
- 2009: Richard Koshalek, recent president of Art Center College of Design; Sharon Loving, horticulture department head, Longwood Gardens of Kennett Square, Pennsylvania; and Beverly White, reporter and anchor, local NBC4 TV station.
- 2010: Christine Knoke, a curator at the Pasadena Norton Simon Museum; Ann Daly, DreamWorks Animation chief operating officer; and Jim Coiner, owner and founder of Coiner Nursery.
- 2011: Debbie Turner, actress (The Sound of Music) and floral designer; Nancy Clarke, former White House Chief Floral Designer, floral designer and author; Kirk Hendrix, President and CEO of the Indianapolis’ 500 Festival.
- 2012: Lois B. Fowkes, American Rose Society judge; Paula Pryke, British florist; Bryan Wittman, Vice President of Global Special Events for Disney Parks.
- 2013: Shane Connolly, British florist; Amy Kule, executive director of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade; Brian Sullivan, director of horticulture & garden operations at Descanso Gardens.
- 2014: Cheryl Cecchetto, founder/president of event planning company Sequoia Productions; James Folsom, botanical garden director at Huntington Library; and floral designer René van Rems.
- 2015: Els Hazenberg, Dutch floral designer; Steven Wood Schmader, president of International Festivals and Events Association; and Eddie Zaratsian, Los Angeles-based floral designer.
- 2016: Tom Bowling, Director of Education, Syndicate Sales; Timothy Lindsay, Virginia Robinson Gardens, Beverly Hills; and Jodie Petersen, landscape architect, the National Park Service (NPS).
- 2017: Phil Rulloda, floral designer; Ronnie Siegel, landscape architect with Swire Siegel; and Carol Togneri, chief curator, Norton Simon Museum.
Judging occurs on the two days before the parade. In the first day's judging, the float is viewed "at rest", without any animation, sound, or riders. The float builder is allowed to explain the float to the judges before the judges begin their examination. In the second judging, the float is judged as it will be presented in the parade, with all animation, riders, outwalkers, and effects. Each judging session lasts five minutes.
Floats are judged in 14 categories, with varying weights; the most important categories are those relating to floral usage. Winners are announced at 6 AM on parade day.
Top prize for the 2016 Rose Parade went to Singpoli Group's float "Marco Polo East Meets West", which was constructed by float builder Paradiso.
Recent Sweepstakes Trophy winners for the "most beautiful entry with outstanding floral presentation and design":
|2016||Singpoli Group||Marco Polo: East Meets West||Paradiso Parade Floats|
|2015||Dole Packaged Foods||Rhythm of Hawai'i||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2014||Dole Packaged Foods||Sunrise at the Oasis||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2013||Dole Food Company||Dreaming of Paradise||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2012||Dole Food Company||Preserving Paradise||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2011||Dole Food Company||Living Well in Paradise||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2010||Rain Bird Corporation||Mountaintop Majesty||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2009||Rain Bird Corporation||Entertaining Expedition||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2008||Rain Bird Corporation||Preservation Celebration||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2007||FTD||Jewels of Nature||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2006||FTD||Your Wish is My Command||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2005||Rain Bird Corporation||Playful Pandamonium||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2004||FTD||Love Songs||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2003||Rain Bird Corporation||Water Wonderland||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2002||Rain Bird Corporation||Animal Ambassadors||Fiesta Parade Floats|
|2001||Rain Bird Corporation||Enchanted Expedition||Fiesta Parade Floats|
Notable recent floats
- a Bollywood wedding scene featuring a bride riding in a palanquin carried by twelve men, a groom atop a giant animated elephant and an ensemble of Bollywood dancers (Sierra Madre, 2009).
- working roller coasters (2003 and 2009 Cal Poly Universities; 1998 and 2017, Downey)
- a 50-foot (15 m) replica of the Statue of Liberty (2006) by Honda advertising their slogan "The Power of Dreams". Honda's other recent floats have included a car transforming into a spaceship (2008) and ASIMO (2009).
- In 1985, the Chrysler float carried the actual torch from the Statue of Liberty, while the statue was being renovated. It was one of the very few times in Tournament history when an object was allowed in the parade without floral covering.
- British Petroleum (BP) (2008 or 2009) presented a group of dinosaurs with a 10-foot flame being ejected from a 20-foot erupting volcano.
- a working water slide (1993 La-Z-Boy "School's Out!"; 2012, Downey "Enchanted Paradise")
- a nearly 100-foot-tall (30 m) Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, 2004
- Anaheim city's float that included the Stanley Cup that the NHL's Anaheim Ducks had won last season, hoisted by player Brad May. (As the regulations state that the outside of the float must exclusively use organic material, ABC commentators speculated that the city got an exception to display the Cup.) (2008)
- In 2010 Anaheim, California and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim commemorated a float to the 2010 All-Star Game at Angel Stadium
- The 2010 Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance float, featuring snowboarding bulldogs, measured over 113 feet (34 m) long, setting a Guinness world record for longest single chassis float.
- The 2011 theme float was decorated with the help from participants of the CBS television show Amazing Race, broadcast on Sunday, December 12, 2010. The final "roadblock" had one team member of the three finalists decorate one of three sections of the float with chrysanthemums and roses, and then covering a sculpted rose with natural material. During the parade, "Up with People" rode and performed atop of the float. For the second year in a row, the 2010 Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance float, featuring skim-boarding bulldogs was Certified by Guinness World Records as the "World's Heaviest Float," it featured over 4,000 gallons of water and was heavier than a 747 airplane.
- The 2012 Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance float, featuring surfing bulldogs, was deemed the World's Heaviest and Longest Rose Parade float.
- The 2014 Public Storage "Adventures in Space" float featured 3 satellite alien spacecrafts rolling down the front ramp and driving around to "discover life on planet Earth" before rolling back up the rear ramp into the spaceship. Public Storage's first ever entry in the parade was awarded the Grand Marshal's trophy for excellence in creative concept and design.
- In keeping with the 2014 parade's "Dreams Come True" theme, Aubrey Loots and Danny Leclair exchanged vows and were married atop a giant wedding cake float. It became the first same-sex marriage in the Rose Parade's 125-year history.
- Tournament of Roses
- Gardening : Roses : Making the Floats : Home & Garden Television
- Pasadena Official Visitors Guide
- Kidspace Children's Museum, City of Pasadena, Department of Public Works
- 2008 Rose Parade Trophy Winners
- Charky, Nicole (21 November 2013). "Float judges named for 2014 Tournament of Roses". La Cañada Valley Sun. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
- "Tournament of Roses Announces 2017 Float Judges" (Press release). Pasadena, California: Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association. 22 September 2016. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
- 2016 Float Awards Announcement, Tournament of Roses, January 1, 2016
- "Downey's float 98 percent done, chairman says". The Downey Patriot. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
- Sharon, Keith; Doug Irving (1 January 2008). "Anaheim's prize-winning float on display". The Orange County Register. Retrieved 3 May 2013.
- 2014 - Adventures In Space - Public Storage - Rose Parade Float, Youtube, January 1, 2014
- Gorman, Steve; Reuters (1 January 2014). "Anaheim's prize-winning float on display". USA Today. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Floats of the Tournament of Roses Parade.|
Former float construction companies
- Charisma Floats
- C.E. Bent & Sons
Float construction companies
- Artistic Entertainment Services (formerly Festival Artists Worldwide)
- Fiesta Parade Floats
- Paradiso Parade Floats
- Phoenix Decorating Co.
- Studio Concepts