Mike always enjoyed watching the Rose Bowl Parade. His first memory of the parade was being invited to the neighbors house New Years Day to watch it 'In Living Color' circa the late 1950's. He was 8 or 9 years old.
While we were in the neighborhood, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to be a part of this iconic event.
After some online research, we decided to join the Award Winning decorating team of Paradiso Parade Floats. They are considered to be a premier boutique builder. This year, they will build four floats in a very large tent on the grounds just outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
At the volunteer tent, we were assigned to work on "The Monkey King" float and given a wrist band and a large sticker with our names on it which was placed on the back of our shirts. This was done so the float supervisors could identify us from behind as we worked on the large structure.
We were in awe as we approached the massive Brookside Pavilion Tent where they were working on the four floats. It was organized chaos. Each float was wrapped in scaffolding with rows and rows of decorating tables surrounding each one. Outside two sides of the tent were supply areas that housed massive amounts of every kind of organic material known to man. Large bins of seeds and dried crushed floral petals, boxes of bark and palm moss and the 'glue station' which was manned by a team of very loopy but strict personnel. The had large tubs and barrels of numerous types of glue along with solvents to clean the brushes and containers. Behind the supply stations were dozens of refrigerated trucks which held all the live flowers which were shipped from all over the world.
Besides all the various materials and numerous types of flowers used on The Monkey King, plans also called for the addition of four types of 30,000 roses... for our float alone. There were four floats built in our tent and there will be 40 floats in this years parade. The numbers are mind boggling.
Before the first decoration is applied, these extravagant moving structures take a year to be designed and built. Each one is a marvel of imagination, design, technology, engineering and dedicated volunteer work.
Cal Poly's Float "A New Leaf" was also amazing. Watch for the giant Lizards eye's to move as if they're watching you. They are!
White-suited Judges are paraded around the tent periodically as they monitor the building progress prior to the final judging on Sunday afternoon.
Downtown was full of activity as thousands of bleachers were set in place along the parade route as well as were restroom facilities and vendor booths.
We hope you watch this year's Parade Monday morning and know that we had a hand and a blast helping to build several of the floats. We'll post on Facebook any trophies awarded to our floats which are announced just prior to the beginning of the parade.
We won't attend the parade in person but will, once again, watch it 'In Living Color' from the comfort of our RV.