by Dot Cannon
“There (will be) about 200,000 flowers, just on this float alone,” a guide told visitors.
Doors had just opened at 11 on Friday morning, at Phoenix Decorating Company’s Rose Float Plaza South. The Irwindale facility was hosting Day Two of “Decorating Places”.
And the general public was getting to see the float decorating process, up close, during final preparations for the 129th Rose Parade®.
“The planning that’s involved takes almost all year long,” said Tournament of Roses® Decorating Places Chair Jason Melillo.
“And the best part of the experience is when we open for business, and everything that we’ve planned…
…comes to fruition and you get to see the smiles on people’s faces as they come through the facility, and see the ‘wow factor’ of the floats up close.
“It’s just seeing people’s smiling faces, as they enjoy the work that we put in all year.”
Smiles and questions abounded, as visitors previewed of some of the 44 floats that will make their appearance on Monday morning.
“Every square inch, every bit of the float has to be covered with something organic,” one guide explained to a small group.
That meant that a lot of precision work needed to happen. And the facility was bustling.
“We have volunteers from all over the world doing this,” commented a Rose Parade® ambassador.
Jason said Rose Float Plaza South, which is a new location for Phoenix Decorating Company this year, is a 120,000-square-foot facility. During Day One of “Decorating Places”, a Phoenix staffer had mentioned that it housed 17 floats.
And everyone we saw was justifiably proud of the activities in which they were involved.
“This is the 65th year we’ve been doing (this),” said Lutheran Hour Float committee member Ed Stelling, as his group decorated their float, “Bringing Christ to the Nations”.
“We’ll have seven Purple Heart recipients on our float. One of them is a woman,” said one of the representatives of the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs float, “Sacrifice to Serve”.
“We convoy (the floats) the night of the 31st,” a guide told visitors. “They leave here between 5 and 6, and get to (their parade lineup locations) by midnight…
“It’s kind of a party atmosphere.”