DOWNEY – With the 130th Tournament of Roses Parade less than a week away, it is officially crunch time for the Downey Rose Float Association.
In coordination with the 2019 parade’s theme “Melody of Life,” Downey’s 2019 entry into the Rose parade is called “Let’s Go to the Hop” and will take viewers on a rip-roaring, swinging and jiving nostalgic cruise back through the 1950’s.
Downey’s entry remains one of only six floats that are designed, built, and decorated solely by volunteers.
Art Director Jeff Shadic says that when designing the 2019 float, he wanted to go with a music theme with a “fun retro aspect to it.”
“We have the giant juke box which is kind of the diner idea, and then the two cars – the roadster and the Cadillac that are driving to the hop…There’s going to be approximately 11,800 roses on this float. They range from orange and yellows and pinks; I wanted to keep it bright and vibrant.”
Shadic says that he wants “the older generation to reminisce,” and “feel excitement about something from their youth.”
According to Construction Chairman Kelley Roberts, it’s the cars that are the most exciting part of the float.
“It’s gotta be the hotrods,” said Roberts. ‘You’ve got a custom-built T-bucket on the front that’s oversized, and then you have a 13-ft. long 1959 pink El Dorado Cadillac satellite float that’s running in front of the float.”
“As the theme says ‘let’s go to the hop,’ so they’re all cruising to go to the hop.”
As Roberts mentioned, the pink Cadillac will cruise down Colorado Boulevard separately from the main float with Shadic and Downey Rose Float President Jennifer DeKay on board. It is the first time “in a long time” that Downey’s entry will feature a satellite float, according to Roberts.
“To have an extra element in front of it to give more character to the float makes it more festive,” said Roberts.
Riding on the main float will be Miss Downey Mariah Lora and members of her court, as well as Downey several Rose Float Association members, former mayor Fernando Vasquez, and Downey resident Alex Dominguez.
Dominguez entered a raffle for a seat on the float and was selected at random as the winner in October.
Downey Rose Float has been fortunate throughout the year to get material donations from local companies, including their steel from Beyond Steel Inc.
“They donated all the steel to make all the different shapes that you see on the float. If it wasn’t for Beyond Steel we would have to pay that bill,” said Roberts.
Both Shadic and Roberts expressed that the float is farther along than in past years at this point in time. However, there are still many long days and nights ahead if the association is to bring the float to completion.
“So far, we’re looking pretty good,” said Roberts. “It’s going to be almost a nonstop workforce to finish this float, paint it, decorate it, seed it.”
And of course, that’s where the community will come in during the rest of the week.
“It wouldn’t be done without all the volunteers that come on down,” said Roberts.
Roberts says he expects to see anywhere from 1,000 to 1,500 viewers and volunteers over the next few days.