DOWNEY – It is officially crunch time for Downey Rose Float volunteers as the 128th Tournament of Roses looms just a week away.
This year’s parade theme is Echoes of Success. Downey’s entry is entitled The Gold Rush, and will feature a working rollercoaster.
“The Gold Rush is basically an image of Sutter’s Mill, back during the 1849 Gold Rush with an actual working roller coaster which represents a mine car,” said Director and Construction Chair Kelley Roberts.
The mine car roller coaster serves as the float’s center piece.
“A roller coaster in general is pretty unique in itself. A roller coaster on a moving platform has its challenges with the movement of the float,” said Roberts. “Since a coaster works basically off gravity – it allows the coaster to run around the different hills and dips – while the float is moving it is very complicated to keep the coaster running in conjunction with an actual moving float…”
Challenges with the coaster began even before The Gold Rush could make its way down Colorado Boulevard, as the Downey Rose Float Association faced a lack of funding until late into the year, as well as a piece of the coaster’s track being stolen.
“We had to reproduce it, and it just happened to be the most difficult and the hardest piece of track to reproduce,” said Roberts.
However, despite any setbacks, volunteers are still hard at work to complete the ambitiously designed float, and have officially opened up the doors for community members to come and help decorate.
Riders of The Gold Rush will include Miss Downey Emely Lopez and her court, several Rose Float Association members, and former County Supervisor Don Knabe.
The 128th Tournament of Roses Parade will air on Monday, January 2nd this year.
Volunteers can find the float site at 13030 Erickson Ave, Downey.