And Then There Were Three

O.k., so we’re down to three concepts for this year’s Rose Parade float (which will be in the 2019 New Year’s Day parade).  I wish I could show you the drawings or even give you a verbal sneak peek!  Alas, I can’t!!!

I can tell you that one concept, none of us really liked.  Basically, our artist was too lazy to redraw it and gave us the same concept from last year.  (Full disclosure – our artist and I tend to butt heads.)

So, realistically, we’re down to two.  We need a bit more input on animation possibilities and challenges for both of them.  One in particular really needs some more fleshing out.

Theme Draft – that’s where float concepts get submitted to Pasadena Tournament of Roses’ Float Committee for approval – is likely going to be February 14.  So we’ve got to get it figured out by then!

Stay tuned!!!

What Are We Going to Build?

Today was the first “concept meeting”.  This is Step One in deciding what our float is going to be this year (for the 2019 New Year’s Day Rose Parade).  We received 147 concept ideas!!  I think that’s the most ever!!!

The theme of the 2019 parade is:

Theme image

Well, that’s broad.  The theme is chosen by the President of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses (which is the “governing body” for the entire parade”).  Sometimes the President puts out a theme statement but I haven’t seen that so far this year.

O.k., back to the concept meeting.  First, we do a simple read-through.  Every single one of the 147 entries are read exactly as they were submitted.  Then, we start back at the beginning of the list.  In Round One, three votes keep a concept.  If it doesn’t get at least three votes, its gone.  There were approximately 20 people in the meeting so it doesn’t take much to get three votes.  This was perhaps the most brutal first round I’ve ever seen!  At the end of it, 147 concepts had been whittled down to 36!!!

Round Two involves a more thorough discussion of the remaining concepts.  Can we build it?  What decoration and animation possibilities do we see?  People are given the opportunity to advocate for a concept.  Believe me, there are no holds barred.  This time around, it takes a minimum of five votes to keep a concept alive.  Another 20 concepts were “killed”.  (That’s literally the language we use.)

Round Three is where it gets serious.  At this point, people have really identified their favorite concepts.  And believe me, people can become really attached to a particular concept.  More discussion ensues, more advocacy, more arguments for and against.  After a thorough discussion, everyone votes for their top three (in no particular order) by secret ballot.

That got us down to five concepts, with one being a clear favorite.  Each of those was talked through yet again.  Two more rounds of voting got us down to three concepts.  Whew.  147 to 3 concepts in three hours.  Not too bad!

Over the next couple of weeks, our artist will sketch out all three concepts and then we’ll meet again.  Stay tuned!

New Year . . . New Float

The 2018 Rose Parade has come and gone.  Thankfully, “Panda-monium” was an easy float to decorate.  Winning the Bob Hope Humor award was the perfect ending to our float “year”.

People often ask when we start on next year’s float (for the 2019 New Year’s Day parade, in this case).  They’re very surprised when I tell them “Right away!”.

Yes, the contest for this year’s float is open now!  Our first decision-making meeting is January 20 so submit your ideas now!  Go to our website at for the on-line entry form.  And remember, our by-laws state that our floats must be whimsical, humorous, and have the ability to be highly animated.

We can’t wait to see your ideas!!

Rose Parade float Check-In

Pandamonium Rendering 4_5_17

I’m Deco Chair for the LaCanada Rose Parade float but I live in Northern California.  Pictures and email explanations are good but there’s nothing like seeing the float in person.

In person, you find out things like:

The pond grew!  Which means I need to increase my iris order.  The waterfalls continue around the side of the float, which means, ummmm . . . we’ve got nothing to cover that with!  Sweet rice!  We’re going to need a lot more sweet rice.

The lily pads also grew but thankfully there’s only two, instead of three.  So, we should be o.k. on our camellia leaves.

The tree got bigger . . . are you sensing a theme here?  Which means . . . more melaleuca bark!

Each material has a conversion factor.  For example, it takes 36 roses to cover one square foot.  It takes 0.3 pounds of crushed sweet rice per square foot.  We place an initial flower order before the float is actually built.  So now, when we see the float in person, is when we find out if things grew or got smaller and therefore, adjust the order.  Of course, we need enough materials to cover everything but the trick is to not have stuff left over!

Then there was the whole issue of the bottom edge of the float.  We thought the “cliff” would come pretty much straight down and then have a 90 degree angle to a flat edge.  Our plan was to stick bamboo, cattails, and other stuff in on the edge to add interest and texture to the cliff.  But . . . the straight “cliff” wasn’t straight!  Which means we have no where to stick our bamboo!

It took a day but things got solved.  More iris, sweet rice and melaleuca bark can be ordered.  We’ll have people re-check square footage.  Construction will keep building.  We’ll re-check again and readjust orders.

One more check on Saturday and then we’ll see it in December!

Pasadena Rose Parade – An Insider’s View

Any fans of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade out there?  You know, the big parade that takes place every January 1st!


I’m a fan!!  And, I’m the Decorations Chair for one of the parade floats.  What exactly does that mean?  That means that its my job to oversee all aspects of float decoration – choosing materials, ordering all those flowers, overseeing the actual decoration of the float, getting us through float judging, and making sure that we’re done on time for the parade.

Besides all of that, I love the parade itself.  I love everything about the parade!!  I love the bands, the horses, the cars, the parade atmosphere, and that its bright and sunny nearly every single January 1!!

I’ve been decorating floats for 30+ years.  So I thought I should add something about it to my blog.  Please comment, ask questions, etc.  I know you fans are out there!