With only two days and about 20 hours left before the step-off of the 123rd Tournament of Roses parade, Sierra Madre folks and their neighbors, many from nearby towns, are beginning the final stretch to full decoration of the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association's 80th entry in the internationally famous parade.
The parade is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. from the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards in Pasadena, heading east to Sierra Madre Boulevard, then north to the post-parade viewing spot in the median strip stretching from Michillinda to Orange Grove.
Work to complete the float is taking place in the Association's Float Barn, located next to Sierra Vista Park on Sierra Madre Boulevard, with expected completion before Saturday, Dec. 31, turns into Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012—although the parade is on Monday, Jan. 2.
Although dried materials are being applied Friday, the fully floral float begins its transformation from a gantry of pipes and carved structures to a beautiful bouquet tonight at 7 p.m., continuing from 8:30 a.m. to at least 10:30 p.m., through Saturday.
Sometime around 6 p.m. Sunday, the float will leave its building spot, travel west along Sierra Madre Boulevard on its way to Orange Grove in Pasadena. There, the float will take its place as the 68th parade entry and the 37th of 43 floats to glide along Colorado.
This year's float is closely tied in with the parade theme, "Just Imagine." Called "Colorful Imagination," it looks to be another award winner for the local Rose Float Association.
94 Years of Rose Floats
The City of Sierra Madre has been represented in the Rose Parade for 94 years, beginning in 1917, but has entered a float in 79 past parades. The city has self-built all but four of its entries. Nine of the floats received special award recognition over the years, and six of those trophies have been garnered in the last six years.
According to the Association, the Sierra Madre float celebrates children's play and their unique ability to use their imaginations to create magical new worlds from ordinary, everyday objects. As the children play, they envision colorful butterflies soaring from the swirling paint.
Horticulturally, flowers on the deck of the float will include roses, cattleya orchids, carnation, button chrysanthemums and iris petals. The swirls leading to the butterflies that extend to the front of the float will display a mixture of chrysanthemums, button mums, Florigene carnations and other colorful flowers.
The butterfly wings will be covered with strawflower, marigold petals, statice, ground rice and other dry mixtures. In total the float will contain 10,000 chrysanthemums, 10,000 carnations, 10,000 roses and filled with iris, Gerbera daisies, germinis, liatris and bells of Ireland.
Aboard the float will be Princesses Julianna Gough, Kacey Benson, Tracey Janzen and Alisa Unell.
The all-volunteer organization that designs, constructs and decorates the city's parade entry, still seeks local participation. Volunteers are always welcome—as are visitors, to the Float Barn at 587 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. Donations are also welcomed by the Association.
Robert Young, current President of the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association says, "We are requesting your financial support so that we can best represent Sierra Madre in the 2012 parade." The self-built float is only one of a handful remaining in the parade. "This all-volunteer Association takes tremendous pride in representing the wonderful city of Sierra Madre," Young concluded.
Donations to the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association are tax deductible under its non-profit 501(c)(3) status. Donations can be made at the Float Barn or by mailing your contribution to the Sierra Madre Rose Float Association, PO Box 603, Sierra Madre, Ca, 91025.
Be sure to stop by the float barn to watch the proceedings, then take your place along the parade route on Jan. 2.