When I got the reporting assignment to cover this event, I misunderstood the text and thought it said that the float was stuck under the freeway overpass. It was not stuck. In fact, it was not even yet under the freeway overpass. But it would shortly be, carefully maneuvered down the hill to the spot under the bridge behind Flintridge Prep School, finally ready for the manic days of decorating.
I learned so much about floats that I hadn’t known!
From my reporting in the CV Weekly story Volunteers Prepare for ‘Panda-monium’:
Of all the 39 flower-covered floats that will grace Colorado Boulevard on Jan. 1 for the 129th Rose Parade, only six of them are “self-built;” the rest are built by professional float companies. And of those six self-built floats, only one is assembled outside, neatly tucked behind Flintridge Preparatory School, “under the bridge” of the 210 freeway.
“We’re all volunteers,” said Hannah Warde of “Decolandia,” as the decorating team is known. “We’ve been doing decorating prep pretty much full time since Dec. 22. It’ll take tens of thousands of volunteer hours to get the rest of it done. But we will!”
And they did!
These folks are amazing! Check it out: LCF group keeps pulling off volunteer-built Rose Parade floats, as costlier commercially-built counterparts dominate
Lance Tibbet, this year’s president of the organizing Pasadena Tournament of Roses Assn., said Rose Parade float building has become a cottage industry, with most entries constructed by for-profit companies.
Still, there’s a lot of affection for “self-builts” and the sense of civic pride they instill.
“It’s that spirit of volunteerism that makes America special,” Tibbet said. “This year’s theme is ‘Making a Difference,’ and our self-built floats are definitely the poster boys for that theme.”
La Cañada Mayor Mike Davitt, who in his youth accompanied dad John on the Pasadena parade route every year for a decade, couldn’t agree more.
“There are very few organizations and cities left who build their own floats,” he said of the effort. “It’s a community builder and something I’m very proud of from a city standpoint.”
Local rules require that the float is humorous which I find funny considering how seriously these volunteers take the work: La Cañada Flintridge float wins humor award in Rose Parade.
The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association is already working on next year’s float ~ La Cañada float builders scrap ‘Panda-Monium’ as ideas for next year’s entry take shape:
“It’s been less than one month since the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. unleashed “Panda-Monium” before a worldwide audience at Pasadena’s Rose Parade. Now, with the bloom officially off the rose, members are already busy prepping for 2019.
On Jan. 19, Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Assn. elected Altadena resident and longtime volunteer Gerald Freeny to serve as president of the 2018-19 year. Freeny announced the theme of next year’s 130th Rose Parade would be “The Melody of Life.”
Enjoy my pictures of the various stages of ‘Panda-monium.’ (Good thing I showed up early; I’d have never caught these pictures if I’d shown up in time for Happy Hour!)