Armed with the knowledge that I would be moving back to Massachusetts sometime in 2014, I volunteered to spend a day working on the Tournament of Roses Parade floats for a final time. This was the second time I worked on the floats and it was a completely different experience, which was fabulous!
The sunrise as I headed up to Pasadena was gorgeous, a sure sign of the awesome adventure that lay ahead!
After parking my car I headed down the street to The Rose Palace, my temporary home for the day. It was one of three locations where floats were decorated.
The last time I volunteered all I did was cut flowers and fill buckets with fresh flowers, but this year I started my day actually decorating a float!! And not just any float, but the Banner Float, AKA the lead float!! I took this picture while waiting for one of my co-volunteers to finish painting glue on a section so I could apply the cut flower petals.
Here’s a shot from further away so you can see the scaffolding and a couple of ladies applying glue.
And this was my view from above…
All the floats are painted and then the flowers/seeds/other natural products are glued on top, kind of like a paint-by-number. The floats are painted first so if an area is not 100% covered the slight bare spots still have color. I took this image from upstairs in the viewing area so you could see the difference between the painted only and fully decorated areas. The painted only areas are so pale in comparison – notice how bright the leaves are.
Here’s the viewing area…anyone can come and for a fee view the floats from above. All volunteers had to wear volunteer t-shirts or sweatshirts so we were allowed upstairs at no charge.
Speaking of flowers, I did spend the afternoon cutting straw flowers. This is done by hand with ordinary scissors, and though kind of boring, I found it to be relaxing. All that is needed to decorate floats is the colorful petals so they need to be carefully cut away from the rest of the flower. This is one of many boxes of flowers that I went through…
And here is one box lid of petals only. The petals are not fine enough for decorating so every now and then another volunteer would come get the lid and put all the petals through a blender before making them available for gluing onto the float.
These next three pictures are an overhead view of the nine floats that were being decorated in The Rose Palace.
And now some random shots I took while walking around the floor.
Once again this past year the experience was organized chaos. It never ceases to amaze me that the floats actually all get completed on time. Though I left feeling I didn’t really make a difference, I know that I did. It truly is such a massive undertaking that every little bit is a big help.
And it was really awesome to once again to work on something that is viewed by millions of people and see all the behind-the-scenes action that makes it all happen.