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  • Writer's picturePaul Depperschmidt

The Rose Parade - Part 2 - All about Floats!

If there were one thing that Karen looked forward to the most, it was actually getting to work on a float that would be in the Rose Parade. Thanks to the folks at Fantasy RV Tours, she got her wish. As a side note, about 3 days prior to us arriving in LA we were seriously considering heading back to Texas as Karen's Mom, Dolly, had taken a fall. But Dolly was a real trooper and insisted Karen stay. We arranged for Karen to fly back right after the parade.

The Fantasy RV Tour team had set things up for us to work on the City of Burbank's float named "Rise Up!". The theme shows a Phoenix rising out of the ashes of the many fires that had plagued the area during the year. The Burbank float is one that is built completely by volunteers. So they were quite happy to get 100+ bodies in to get some work done. It was menial work, but hey, its working on a float.

For those not aware, in the Rose Parade all floats must be decorated with natural materials. That makes for some amazingly creative ideas to provide the illusions. Potatoes become rocks, small clippings of certain color flowers becomes a tapestry to create images. People will work for days to create a small portion of the float. Then more days are used to actually glue or pin those items on the float.

For those who are curious, the base of the float is re-used each year. Two people actually ride in the float, a navigator and an operator. The operator guides the float but has no view of the outside. The navigator will tell the operator to turn a little left, etc. The base section also holds the mechanisms that control movement and animation. The entire float is towed from its building to the parade the night before.

And then it was time for us to add our little bit to the efforts. Our first task was to nip the flower end off of a stem and stack them up. These flowers were used on the upper wings of the Phoenix.

Our next task was to add moss to the float to hide connecting sections. While this was mostly covered up by other things, it was ESSENTIAL to the success of the float.

And now, the big show.....

To illustrate how committed Karen was to seeing the parade, she was actually up and ready to board the bus at 4:45 AM. Getting up early is Karen's Kryptonite. But it was well worth it. We had front row seats and the weather could not have been more perfect. We joined the other 1 million people who lined the streets for the 8:00 AM start. Here we go with our best picks to represent the Rose Parade 2020!

Everyone finds their places and the horse pickup teams warm up. Then the B-2 Bomber starts the festivities.

And then, the best float in the parade. And the moss.... awsome!

After the Parade

Another Rose Parade tradition is the Post Parade Showcase of Floats. For two days the floats are arranged for viewers to see them up close. This allows viewers to see what they are truly made of. The detail and imagination is inspiring.

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