DOWNEY – With the 127th Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade looming around the corner, the Downey Rose Float Association has been working almost nonstop throughout the week to ensure that Downey’s entry will be ready to roll down Colorado Boulevard.
In accordance with this year’s parade theme, “Find Your Adventure,” this year’s float is entitled “Exploring the Everglades,” taking inspiration from the Florida Everglades. Measuring at 55 feet long and 18 feet tall, the float will feature three panthers and five blue herons, three of which will be animated. Downey’s float will also be covered in thousands of flowers and various plant life of different species. Downey Royalty will also be onboard.
Construction Chair Kelley Roberts believes that the float’s theme will help it stand out amongst other floats this year.
“The Tournament of Roses is partnered with the National Parks Service, celebrating their centennial anniversary,” said Roberts. “I think we are one of the few if not the only float that really focused on one of our national parks.”
Exploring the Everglades has been a year-long process starting from design and building up to Friday’s Parade. Jason Redfox says that he started designing in January.
“I started by building a model. From the model we went into a sketch, from the sketch we went to a color rendering,” said Redfox. “From there we use the model, it’s built to scale, to build the float. We try to match the float as close as we can to the model.”
According to Redfox, some building took place in August, however construction really took off around September and October. Redfox said that only a handful of people, around ten, are involved in the building of the float. However, much more manpower is used in the final weeks before parade day.
“There are thousands of man hours between Christmas and New Year’s,” said Redfox. “That’s when we have volunteers down here who do decorating, the seeds, cutting the flowers, all that stuff.”
This past week, Downey Rose Float Association has invited members of the community to come and help put the finishing touches on the float. Robert’s described the last week before the parade as “college hell week on steroids.”
“If we didn’t have volunteers there wouldn’t be a float in the parade,” said Roberts. “If all goes well I’d like to see 100 [people] a day.”
Downey’s floats have had history with winning awards in the parade, however according to Robert’s that is not necessarily the goal this year.
“You always want to win an award, right?” said Roberts. “…There’s no particular award we’re going for on this one, we’re just trying to knock their socks off.”
The Rose Parade will air at 8 a.m. PST Friday morning. Check your local listings to find out how to watch. Downey’s Float will also spend a few days in the Embassy Suites parking lot for community members who are interested in seeing the float and purchasing flowers.