DOWNEY – Downey’s 2017 entry into the Tournament of Roses wowed spectators and judges alike, bringing home the Governor’s Award for Best Depiction of Life in California.
This year’s float was called “The Gold Rush,” and featured a working roller coaster as its centerpiece. It was the first float to be judged and the second to be featured on camera.
According to Director and Construction Chair Kelley Roberts, the float was well received by parade viewers despite a few initial “glitches.”
“We had some glitches along the way to get there, some glitches on the way to get home,” said Roberts. “[We] had a little glitch in the parade with an external shut off wire for the [coaster] lift that was resolved – unfortunately – right after camera…”
Viewers at home were not able to see Downey’s coaster float in action, however Roberts and his crew quickly fixed the issue so that those in attendance could still witness the float’s main attraction.
“As soon as the car went back, the crowd went absolutely nuts,” said Roberts.
Downey’s float is one of only six entirely volunteer built and funded floats to travel down Colorado Boulevard.
Downey Rose Float President Sue England described this year’s float as “a labor of love.”
“It gives the community that sense of pride,” said England. “It’s not just something that you throw money at; it’s something that everybody has a hand in.”
Quoting a tournament judge, England called the community-built floats the “soul of the parade.”
“You see the same people every year – you know they don’t get paid,” said England. “It just makes you proud of what you can accomplish with just a small group of people.”
Downey was represented on its float in part by former LA County Supervisor Don Knabe, his wife Julie, as well as Miss Downey Emely Lopez and her court.
“The adrenaline rush of that first turn onto Colorado Boulevard to the grandstands is something I will never forget,” said Lopez. “I am thankful for our whole community that helped make our 2017 Downey Rose Float a success.”
The float returned to Downey late Tuesday night. It will be displayed in front of the Embassy Suites for the next few days, weather permitting.