Cal Poly Universities

Floats of the 127th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade

Happy New Year everyone. It is New Year’s Eve 2015 and today I went back out to Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale with the hopes of being able to photograph some of the completed floats for the 2016 Rose Parade before they were moved to Pasadena. While I have been photographing the construction of the floats over the past week, I have focused a lot on the City of Torrance entry for obvious reasons, but New Year’s Eve is also the day that I meet up with the representatives of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC). Usually I meet up with them at the Rose Bowl, but this year the Miracle-Gro float was also a certified California Grown float, so I went earlier to meet up at Fiesta; it was a good move.

As fate would have it, they were actually judging the floats so all the floats were pretty much completed. That was the thing, when we were last there I mentioned to Tanya that I thought some floats were running behind schedule. Today there were a couple floats that still had scaffolding up for decorating. This was true at the Rose Bowl as well, so maybe the number of volunteers to decorate was down. I do seem to recall seeing more groups in the past.

I was also lucky enough to run into our recently retired chief of the Torrance Fire Department, William Racowschi, so I was able to get a couple photos of him and his fire-fighting buddies by the Torrance float. The City of Torrance thanks him for his service. Continue reading

Floats readied for the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade

If you will recall, last week I headed out to Fiesta Parade Floats to take photos of the floats they were building for the upcoming 125th Tournament of Roses Parade. It was December 23 and at that point the floats were virtual skeletons; waiting for December 26 when the actual decorating could begin. The parade rules state that all surfaces of the float framework must be covered in natural materials; usually flowers and seeds. Since these natural materials have a tendency to decay after they are plucked from the ground, the decorating does not begin until December 26. The decorating must be completed by the evening of December 30 so that the floats can be judged on December 31.

Yesterday, December 30 I headed back out to Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale to see how progress was coming along. The first thing I noticed was how great it smelled in there with thousands upon thousands of flowers; most already on the floats, but some still waiting to be applied. One of the volunteers told me that they got a slow start because of the extremely warm weather we have been experiencing, but it was obvious that most of the floats were very close to completion.

After I left Irwindale I headed out to the Rose Bowl Stadium parking lot, having been invited by the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC) to come photograph the float by entered by California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly). Last year the CCFC reached out to me because approximately 80% of all cut flowers sold in the United States are imported from other countries. The CCFC and California flower farmers were working with the Cal Poly Universities and the City of South Pasadena to ensure that more than 85% of the flowers used on their floats were American grown, specifically from California’s flower farms. This year, Cal Poly is the only certified “California Grown” float in the parade with more than 85% of the flowers used to decorate the float being sourced from California flower farmers. Continue reading

Cal Poly Universities: Keeping it Homegrown for the 124th Rose Parade

These photos were taken Saturday at Lot I of the Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena. Every once in a while, when I photograph a place or event, I will submit an accompanying article to CNN’s iReport. I have a pretty good idea ahead of time whether or not they will find it suitable for use on CNN and I have a pretty good track record of getting vetted. I know that they have liked my photos from Candy Cane Lane and my coverage of the 123rd Annual Tournament of Roses Parade so it made sense for me to submit a pictorial using photos from my visits to Fiesta Parade Floats showing the preparation of some of the floats for this year’s Rose Parade. While I was not surprised to be vetted, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my article was named an Editor’s Pick which resulted in the article being placed on the front page of CNN.com. As one might guess, this resulted in a lot of exposure for both the article and me. Of the thousands that read the report, one was a representative of the California Cut Flower Commission (CCFC).

In my CNN report I had mentioned that my access to Fiesta Parade Floats had been cut off for the float decorating and that I was seeking a float sponsor that could provide me with a media pass. The CCFC contacted CNN, got my contact information and contacted me with an offer to come photograph the decorating of the float being entered by Cal Poly Universities at the Rose Bowl Stadium. They also provided me with some background information that they felt I would find interesting enough to write about; they were right. Continue reading

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