by Dot Cannon
“Am I too late?” a visitor asked.
A staff member laughed. “No, we’re going to be here 24/7.”
It was Day Two of Decorating Week. The time was about 3:30 on the Sunday afternoon before the Rose Parade®, inside Fiesta Parade Floats’ facility. And the ongoing activity would have made a beehive look lazy.
Volunteers were gluing dried materials to surfaces, for the detailed work that evokes “oohs” and “aahs” on New Year’s Day.
Fiesta Parade Floats have created eleven of the floats for the 2015 Tournament of Roses® Parade, which is themed, “Inspiring Stories”.
Among those are this Northwestern Mutual float, themed “Inspiring Potential”.
“The Bachelor” is also represented in the Rose Parade®, with this float, themed, “The Bachelor: Inspiring Love”.
And the City of Torrance’s float honors the late Louis Zamperini, Grand Marshal of the 2015 Rose Parade®, following his passing on July 2nd of this year.
Torrance’s float is themed: “Louis Zamperini: A Race Well Run.”
Recently, we’ve heard everyone talk about STEAM–science, technology, engineering, art and math. However, float builders like Fiesta Parade Floats–established in 1988–have been working with those considerations for years.
Later this afternoon, the floats will be leaving the float barn and heading towards Colorado Boulevard, where they’ll be placed in parade lineup. According to Fiesta Parade Floats Project Manager Beverly Stansbury, any structure taller than sixteen feet must be able to retract in forty-five seconds or less, to allow the floats to travel under overpasses.
Also, every inch of surface, on every float, must be covered with organic materials…
…and Tournament of Roses® restrictions specify that the colors of these natural materials cannot be altered in any way.
While the volunteers worked with dried materials on Deco Day 2, buckets of these were standing at the ready.
Some floats can have as many as fifty thousand roses covering their surfaces–along with, of course, orchids, moss, dried seeds, bark and any other organic materials.
These vials are placed on the floats in the final phase of the decorating process, and the roses are then put into them.
Fiesta Parade Floats have currently won the Rose Parade®’s top prize–the Sweepstakes Award—for twenty-one years in a row. According to their website, they have a 65% prizewinning rate, which is the highest in their industry. As they take to the road, later today, with their 2015 Rose Parade® creations, we’d like to wish them and all their fellow float builders a safe journey, and a very Happy New Year!