Downey's Rose Parade float is an award-winner

DOWNEY - The Downey Rose Float Association has done it again.Its entry in the just concluded 123rd Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, titled "Enchanted Paradise," which was concocted by the imaginations of designers Kelley Roberts, Jeff Shadic and Jason Redfox, on Monday once again won for the association the prized Founders' Trophy, awarded to the "most beautiful entry built and decorated by volunteers from a sponsoring community or organization " Obviously aware of the admirably consistent winning ways of the DRFA (last year it also garnered the prestigious Lathrop K. Leishman trophy for its "A Stroll Down Memory Lane; two years prior, it bagged the Founders' Trophy for its "Jewels of the Pacific" entry, and the Founders' Trophy last year for "Broadway's Golden Age"), Bob Eubanks of KTLA-TV which has been covering the event for several years commented to his announcing partner, Stephanie Edwards: "Downey always comes through, doesn't it?" Indeed, it does, and when asked how the association was able to win four consecutive trophies, Roberts, who is the current DRFA president as well as its longtime float construction chairman, replied, tongue-in-cheek: "Luck?" It was apparent he was playing the modesty card. When he discerned that this reporter wanted a more logical explanation than that, Roberts said: "We are always trying to do our best. We want to make sure we deliver for the city, make the community proud. Finishing the float on time is satisfaction enough. Winning a trophy, should it happen, is really icing on the cake." According to Roberts, the float arrived at the Embassy Suites at 10 p.m. the night of Jan. 3 back from its post-parade site in Pasadena, to enable the thousands of enthusiasts from everywhere to view the floral decorations "up close and personal." The two-day stay in front of Embassy Suites was to provide Downey residents and others the chance to purchase the float's roses (they are kept fresh because the stems are held in place by water vials). This pause at Embassy Suites effectively starts anew the fund-raising cycle on which, in addition to donations from private and public sources, special sales of all kinds, and other fundraising projects such as its concert-in-the-park, the association depends for its funding. Then, he said, "We will tear the float apart and begin the planning, building, etc., process all over again." Earlier, Roberts intimated that he'll take a month off from it all, before resuming his tasks as float construction chairman. Again, knowing the demands of his voluntary gig with the DRFA-with which he has been involved a thousand different ways since he was 10-how couldn't it be just something devoutly to be wished? He said the theme of next year's Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade will be announced next week.

********** Published: January 5, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 38