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Rose Bowl Float Volunteering: Not For The Faint Of Heart

by KLiedle (writer), Los Angeles, January 07, 2008

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Only after getting my hands gluey--after hours and hours of painting glue onto fake, foam edeweisses like some sort of scolded Von Trapp Family Singer--did I completely understand what a phenomenal ta

For years, my father and I watched the Tournament Of Roses Parade on our dinky, little television, somewhere in the Midwest. According to my personal diary accounts, this tradition goes way back into my childhood. Like clockwork, I’d be there at the kitchen table, promptly at 8 a.m. on January 1, with a bowl of steaming oatmeal before me and eyes primed for floral creations beyond my wildest childhood imagination.

Years and years later, I found myself living within a short commute of Pasadena, California, long-time home of the Rose Bowl Parade.

“Such a shame,” I thought, “to be soooo close and yet never take the time to actually go there…on Parade Day…and watch it LIVE!”

Each and every successive year of my adulthood, I’d contemplate a New Year’s Eve of scouting out my chunk of Pasadenian concrete and staking my claim to a prime position for the early morning festivities of January 1. Just as predictably, every year that passed, I’d decide that “Next Year” would be my slumber-party-on-the-pavement initiation to Rose Parade Fandom. The problem though, is that, although I like the Parade, I’m only a casual fan. I’m not a Rose Bowl Parade fanatic in that I’m willing to suffer in order to establish my spot in line. No, no-- comfort (and joy) is my M.O. for the holidays and New Years alike.

So, this year…I decided to volunteer to actually work on the City of Burbank’s “Oktoberfest” Float entry for the Parade for a more hands-on Rose Bowl Experience than merely watching the floats…er, float by.

Only after getting my hands gluey--after hours and hours of painting glue onto fake, foam edeweisses like some sort of scolded Von Trapp Family Singer--did I completely understand what a phenomenal task this float-building actually is!

By Day Two, I had been upgraded to cutting flower petals, which apparently they won’t let just anyone do. I thought this would be a good thing…Flowers, Yes! No more crusty, gluey rice kernels and natural cotton stuck to hands!

But, alas, flowers meant straw flower—a rather spindly variety of dried flower. My job was to cut off all the light purple petals and collect them into a bottomless pit of a coffee can. After half a day of four of us working strictly on light purple straw flower petals, that coffee can was approximately half-full – or half-empty, depending on your view. My view was that I’d seen enough straw flower petals to tide me over for quite a few lifetimes.

People, lots of them, work like little elves trying to get this gigantically, enormous float thingy ready to go by January 1. So, do them all a favor : If you missed the Rose Bowl Parade, view the tediously beautiful work online at the official Tournament of Roses Parade website.

The City Of Burbank and its tireless volunteers certainly know all about the monumental task of planning and building a float. Me? I was just a tired volunteer, and my true contributions were minuscule. From here on out though, I will view each and every float with both awe and respect.

Burbank Rose Float
Official Tournament Of Roses Parade Site

Photos By Kendra Liedle



About the Writer

KLiedle is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on Rose Bowl Float Volunteering: Not For The Faint Of Heart

Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By Lady D on January 07, 2008 at 12:49 pm

I did event decorating for years, even decorated tents for New Years Rose Bowl events. It is brutal.

But unless there are people like you,Thank You.

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Log In To Vote   Score: 1
By Ivan Homeless on January 10, 2008 at 12:51 pm

If not for float decorating I would never have learned the joy of hot mulled Dr Pepper (sounds gross I know, but work on the Dr Pepper float and that's what you get to drink, it's yummy!) somehow it makes the glue more tolerable.

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