Irwindale

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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

Preparing for the 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade

This afternoon I headed out to Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale, CA to check out the progress on the float building for the upcoming 125th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade which will be held Wednesday, January 1, 2014. As I have been donating time towards helping the Torrance Rose Float Association (TRFA) raise the funds needed for building the float, I figured I would go out to where the float is being built so people can get an idea of what goes into a project like this.

Fiesta Parade Floats builds award winning floats and has for several years; as such, they were actually building about 10 floats. I went a few times last year, but today had the fewest number of people on-site that I can recall. I asked one of the builders and he said that the floats are all pretty much ready for the decorating to begin; that starts the day after Christmas and must be completed by the evening of December 30 as the floats will be judged on December 31. I will go back out in a few days after the decorating has begun so you can see the difference.

The theme of this year’s Rose Parade is “Dreams Come True.” The American Youth Soccer Organization (AYSO), which began in Torrance is a primary sponsor for Torrance’s entry to the parade this year; so you will notice a definite soccer theme with “Everyone Plays”, which is the first of AYSO Soccer’s Six Philosophies and the theme of the 2014 Rose Parade float. Continue reading

Float decorating at Fiesta Floats

These photos were taken Saturday, December 29 at Fiesta Parade Floats in Irwindale, CA as volunteers hurried to add the organic items to nine of the entries to the 124th Annual Tournament of Roses Parade. After my last visit to Fiesta Floats on Christmas Eve I happened to notice that Fiesta Floats was tweeting my articles about the float preparation at their location, so I contacted their social media person via Twitter and asked if they would be able to assist in my getting in to photograph the actual decorating of the floats. I was put in touch with the Vice-President of The Pollack PR Marketing Group who was more than happy to help me come back in with my camera.

This was my third visit to the warehouse at Fiesta Floats and the first thing I noticed was that this time it smelled great! Of the 10 floats built by Fiesta Floats, nine of them were set up with scaffolding around them and the floats were covered with people adding flowers, seeds and whatever other finishing touches needed to be completed by Monday. To me, some of the more interesting tasks were performed by those adding the small details to the floats; items such as books or butterflies that required each individual seed to be added, one by one; or the people underneath the floats that would pull the flower holders down to ensure that only flowers would be seen on the topside. Continue reading

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