DOWNEY – With Jan. 1 quickly approaching at the start of next week, the Downey Rose Float Association has entered the home stretch of float preparation.
Nestled within the Rancho Los Amigos south campus, Rose Float volunteers and community members are hard at work to put the finishing touches on next year’s Rose Parade entry.
“Making a Difference’ is the theme of the parade, and the theme of our float is ‘Working Together,’” said Kelley Roberts, construction chairman at DRFA.
“Working Together” will showcase two peace doves and an 11 foot 6-inch-tall, 11 foot 5-inch-wide rotating globe. The float itself spans 42 1/2 feet-long, 18 feet-wide, and 15 feet 2 inches tall.
The float will also feature Miss Downey Julie Ledesma and her royal court.
While this float is smaller in comparison to prior entries by Downey, it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. DRFA Art Director Jeff Shadic, who presented the original concept for the float, says that the DRFA “wanted to relax a bit this year.”
This float also leans away from more “cartoony” features, favoring elements that DRFA is known to be good at.
“We excel at architectural elements,” said Shadic. “We’re playing to our strengths.”
At the time of writing, Roberts says that the float is behind schedule and hopefully will be caught up within the next day and a half. Floral Director Jason Redfox isn’t worried though.
“Most likely by [Thursday] afternoon we will be full-on decorating this float,” said Redfox. “That being said, we feel that this float is going to decorate pretty quick. We’re hoping that even though right now it looks like we’re not done, a couple of days from now we’re going to be in good shape.”
That decorating process will include 14,000 roses and a “couple thousand orchids,” according to Redfox.
“I would say 80 percent of the flowers used on this float are roses,” said Redfox. “To put it in perspective, last year with a larger float… we had about 7,000 roses. We’re doubling the roses, but this year’s float is 13 feet shorter and 10 feet not as tall.”
Tying into the parade and float theme, the DRFA Relay for Life Team is selling $1 pink ribbons for every pink rose on the float. Part of those proceeds will be donated to Relay for Life.
Downey’s float will roll down Colorado Boulevard and onto television screens when the 129th Tournament Roses Parade airs Monday at 8 a.m.
The float will return to Downey on Jan. 2 and remain on display in front of the Embassy Suites until Jan 4.