Volunteers help decorate Downey float

DOWNEY - An estimated 100 volunteers began channeling their energies the day after Christmas into decorating Downey's float as the Downey Rose Float Association puts its finishing touches on its entry, "The Glass Slipper," in the 125th Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena Jan. 1.

This is the final phase of Downey's self-built float construction that first began in the imaginations of Thom Neighbors, Jason Redfox, Jeff Shadic and Kelley Roberts - who put their minds together in coming up with the concept of The Glass Slipper as representing the overall Tournament theme of "Dreams Come True," and rendered by Thom Neighbors; and, secondly, whose physical manifestations started to take shape in early spring; and, finally, after much patient, plodding work over the months by a core volunteer construction crew made up of Andrew Malarkey, Mike Negreti, Glenn Alvarez, Jeremy Clifton, Mike Minnig and Jeff Shadic, under the direction of longtime construction chief Kelley Roberts, is now nearing fruition.

Dry materials are currently being glued on to the 50-ft. long, 18-ft. wide, 28-ft. tall white-painted float, including: barley, rice, orange and yellow lentils, ground carrot and squash seeds. This will take about four days.

In the final two days of decoration the efforts of the volunteers, fed and supplied with drink by such food and beverage donors as Knott's Berry Farm and Buffalo Wild Wings, will reach fever-pitch as $18,000 worth of roses, including pink, yellow and red-yellow (some 10,000 of them) as well as white and purple (about 500) and hydrangea orchids (500) will be tacked on to the float's bed and its key elements (castle entrance and exit, a large clock, and a fountain in the center).

The final two judgings, according to Roberts, to determine especially the float's aesthetic values, take place Dec. 30-31.

Roberts said the cost of constructing the float was achieved through cost-cutting and using old materials, notwithstanding the various fundraising activities conducted by the DRFA. Total cost is $33,000.

"As float construction is practically year-round, so is raising money to pay for the flowers and construction," he said.

Then he paid tribute to the contributions made over the years by Titan Transportation for its transportation services, the Downey Police Department for escorting the float to and from Pasadena, and Leach Grain & Milling for the seeds used on the float.

Featured riders on the float, according to Roberts, will be Miss Downey and her court, Roscommon County, Ireland's Pearl Crosby-Dillon, and Warren High's Gordon Sodetani.

********** Published: Dec. 26, 2013 - Volume 12 - Issue 37