Downey brought home the prestigious Queen Award from Monday’s 129th Rose Parade for “most outstanding presentation of roses.”
The Tournament of Roses awards 24 trophies each year, recognizing excellence in a variety of categories and specifications.
A three-member judging panel, composed of civic and floral industry leaders, was appointed by the Tournament of Roses Judging Committee to evaluate the floats within a range of classifications. Scores were based on criteria such as creative design, floral craftsmanship, artistic merit, computerized animation, thematic interpretation, floral and color presentation, and dramatic impact.
Two judging sessions took place during the decorating stages before the parade. Scores from each judging session were then combined to determine the trophy recipients. Results were released to the media immediately prior to the start of the Rose Parade.
Banners for each trophy-winning float were carried in the parade by select members of the Tournament of Roses Eagle Scout and Gold Award Girl Scout Troops.
The Downey Rose Float Association (DRFA) built a float titled “Working Together.” It showcased two peace doves and an 11 foot 6-inch-tall, 11 foot 5-inch-wide rotating globe.
The entire float spanned 42 1/2 feet-long, 18 feet-wide, and 15 feet 2 inches tall.
Adorning the float were nearly 15,000 roses and at least a couple thousand orchids.
“I’m extremely happy with the award we got, the Queen Trophy,” said Jeff Shadic, DRFA artistic director. “We knew this float was going to be a pretty simple design, there wasn’t going to be a lot of elaborate arrangements on it, so we knew the decks were going to have to be covered in roses, and that ended up being about 15,000 roses approximately that are covering the decks of this float.
“Plus, they were going to have to be in unison, in order and in perfect rows; that’s what actually did it for us.”
Volunteers worked on Downey’s float 24 hours a day last week, prepping it for judging. Downey’s float is entirely self-built.
“We actually finished it in time for judging at 7:30 in the morning on December 31st,” said construction chairman Kelley Roberts. “When the judges first came by on December 30th, there were only two coffee cans worth of seed on the float. Not all the flex foam was in place, it wasn’t completely painted; if you look at it from a judge’s perspective, they didn’t think we’d finish.
“But when they came back the next morning and saw the float completed 98 percent, they pretty much stopped in their tracks.
“It’s the first time that we’ve won the award, and it’s a pretty prestigious honor because this is
usually given mainly to professional built floats.”
The float was towed back to Downey on Tuesday and remained on display in the Embassy Suites parking lot through Thursday.
Jennifer DeKay, president of DRFA, credited volunteers who not only built the float but support the Downey Rose Float Association year-round.
“Working Together” was so much more than the title of this float. It’s what we do - everyone, from all ages, has the opportunity to support the float,” DeKay said. “Through fundraisers, memberships, constuction, and being there decoration week - we, as a community work together to make a spectacular float. I am humbled with the talent that are members of this association.
“The support we receive from the Downey community throughout the year make participating in the Rose Parade possible,” she added.