Reported by Maria Del Pinto
While everyone else is out doing their after Christmas activities, there are hundreds of volunteers working on those wonderful floats that you can see during the Rose Parade.
So how do you get from the metal base float to the finished “Loyola Marymount University” 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade float in the photo above? Well it is a very well organized system that is powered by both the float building personnel and volunteers from all walks of life.
The work floor may look a bit chaotic but it is actually a very organized process. There are flowers, floral supplies, scaffolding, power tools and equipment,
Additionally, there are people everywhere all working in a unique harmony to create some of the most breath taking pieces of floral art that I have had the pleasure to enjoy first hand. Every flower that comes goes through a process that can vary in accordance to the type of flower it is. The volunteers then begin the processes of gluing wooden sticks to the stem of each carnation bud.
Once the adhesive is dry, each bloom is carefully hand fluffed by the volunteers and then put onto Styrofoam base to be lined up by color and type of flower.
Then they are labeled to be placed onto the float in accordance with artist diagram directions.
Once they are labeled, the flowers are lined up next to the float they are going to be placed on
This allows the volunteers to begin the process of placing the flowers onto the floats, one by one.
Every part of the float is covered by flowers, leaves, stems, seeds, and other natural materials. Some of the float signage is covered by a process of using individual flower petals which are glued onto the surface one-by-one by the volunteers.
This is slow and sticky process. The glue has to be strong enough to hold the petals onto the signage throughout the parade route. We usually end up with glue all over our hands and clothing, most of the seasoned volunteers will advise new volunteers to wear their oldest clothing (since it will probably get trashed during the float decorating process)
Additionally, we glue seeds, dried orange slices, and other natural materials to various surfaces and signage. In the photo below, you can see a volunteer working on the “City of LA” plaque using these types of materials.
You can see how tiny the natural materials used in the process can be. Each seed has to be attached with the adhesive.
More examples of the various materials used. The wagon wheel has dried and fresh flowers, seeds, beans, and more on it.
The beautiful portrait below, is composed of seeds, ground pepper, ground flower petals and other natural materials which were applied by hand (one-by-one) by various volunteers. It is amazing to see this time consuming process create such an interesting portrait in person.
Here is a look at some of the different floats and the cool features you may not get to see when you see the floats in the Tournament of Rose Parade on television.
The 2012 HGTV Tournament of Roses Parade float sported a very cool cobblestone road, which is made with by using potatoes that are cut in half and covered in spices and ground seeds.
The Lions Club International 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade float was an amazing example of the creative use of crushed natural materials and florals. The center of the flower is dried lentils which were individually glued on to create the center of the flower bud.
All materials used on these floats must be organic in nature and cannot be dyed. They are fresh, dried, crushed and/or pureed and then applied individually by the volunteers onto the float surface. All visible parts of the float must be covered in these floral or natural materials
These bud were attached to the float. The floating ribbon on the float is completely decorated in crushed natural materials and cut up leaves.
Seeing these amazing works of art emerge from their beginning stages to end product is an amazing experience. Being that they are built in large empty buildings that have to be large enough to house these amazing pieces of work, volunteers do get exposed an interesting variation of temperature conditions. This year we had a very warm week (70 plus degrees), so it was rather warm in the daytime. Then it switched to cool in the evenings (50 degrees and below), so if you decided to volunteer to work on these in the future, just layer your gear because getting to work on these floats and seeing the end result is so worth the extra effort.
If you live in or are visiting California, I highly recommend checking out the Tournament of Roses Parade Float display which sets up at the end of the parade route (on Sierra Madre Blvd). Currently they charge $10 for adults and children are free. I find that it is worth the traffic and parking challenges to see these floats in person and see how the designers and volunteers have used natural materials to create the Tournament of Roses Parade floats.
We would love to hear from our readers what type of activities they participate in during the holidays. What are you looking forward to in the new year?
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