The 2010 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade is already history, but you still have a chance to see the gorgeous floats up close in person. Whether you are into parades or not, seeing these mobile works of art is worth it. The entire surface of each float must be covered in natural materials only. Flowers, seeds, bark, leaves, and husks are among the many materials used in some astoundingly creative ways. Faboomama gave us a peek at the many, many hours of volunteer labor that go in to making each one.
The theme of this year’s parade was “A Cut Above The Rest.” The talented students from Cal Poly put a humorous spin on it with their concept “Jungle Cuts,” which had monkeys styling the “hair” of various animals. It was perhaps the largest crowd pleaser and it took some maneuvering to get close and take photos. I guess the float builders knew how popular their float would be and set up a merchandise booth next to it where they sold posters and t-shirts of their design of their scene of newly coiffed beasts.
You have until 5pm today (ticket sales end at 3pm) and from 9am to 5pm tomorrow to check out the floats. Click here for comprehensive information on where, when, how much, dos and don’t, directions, transportation options, etc. You can even download a free podcast which serves as an audio tour.
My personal recommendations are to take advantage of one of the many shuttle options, wear comfortable walking shoes, allow yourself at least two hours, and bring some water as it’s pricey on-site. Also, make sure you take a look at Burbank’s award winning entry. It’s mighty impressive.
One of my favorite LA volunteer efforts is decorating the floats for the Rose Parade. It started back in High School, when we received extra credit for doing so over the school break. The tradition continued in college as my university enters a float into The Tournament of Roses every year. The experience ended after I met my husband who detests everything about parades due to his growing up in Communist-era Romania.
Still, once my kids get a little older, I plan on taking them to decorate floats. Everyone loves that feeling of watching a project go from the drawing table to the finished product and float decorating provides that to hundreds of people at once. Walking into the warehouse to see a bare bones structure, looking at the plans and getting assigned an organic matter is simply thrilling. Once the seeds and dried flowers and leaves are glued on, then comes the hard part of placing the petals. That is also when the various groups and random volunteers come in. While making it a little more difficult (there’s so many people!), it also makes it a little easier, provided everyone works as a team and you don’t get that one lady who yells at everyone for the sake of yelling.
There is something about showing up on the parade route at 3am, to put the finishing touches on a float. One year, our float was nowhere near done by the time it was slowly towed west on the 210 Freeway, to Orange Grove Ave. We were still gluing orange petals and poppy seeds on our floats when the judges were a float away.
I highly suggest that everyone have this experience at least once. Watching the parade later and seeing “your” float go down Colorado Blvd. is such a wonderful emotion. If you’re interested in spending a few hours in these closing days of 2008 decorating floats, please contact the local float makers for details: