Thursday, December 30, 2010
HOW TOURNAMENT OF ROSES PARADE FLOATS ARE MADE!!
If you have ever seen the elaborate floats in the Tournament of Roses Parade, chances are you have wondered where all those flowers come from and how the floats are made. The building of a Tournament of Roses Float involves hundreds of people over a year long process that begins in February. The main structure, including elaborate hydraulic systems to operate the mechanical features of the float, is created by professional float builders, but the final application of flowers is completed primarily by volunteers just like you and me.
Float Design Begins in February
The process begins with a meeting between the sponsor who commission the float and the people in charge of building it. Float building companies generally design and build several floats for different clients. Designers develop a detailed sketch that incorporates the client's wishes with the parades theme. Once approved by the sponsor, the sketch is refined and hand colored. The floral director then chooses the floral material to represent the overall design. Flowers and other natural materials are chosen for both color and texture to create the illusion of living people and props.
Flowers Cover Every Square inch of Rose Parade Floats
Floral Directors Calculate How Many Flowers Are Needed
m Experienced floral directors easily calculate the needed amount of each material by using coverage formulas for the individual plants or organic material used. These amazing directors can quote from heart the number of roses or Gerber daisies it takes to fill one square foot of area on a parade float.
Flowers Arrive in Refrigerated Trucks in December
Refrigerated trucks begin arriving in Pasadena the week of Christmas and place the flowers in refrigerated tents that may cover half of a football field. Each float-building company operates one or two of these tents and stores flowers in buckets or on racks, with the flowers for each float sectioned and marked ready to go to the individual floats. About 10 days prior to the parade, flowers are moved to float-building barns.
Giant Paint by Number Picture Directs Float Assembly
Volunteers Get to Work Completing the Float
Volunteers from all across the nation do much of the manual work of assembling the floats. Volunteers are assigned specific jobs to match their skill level. First time volunteers may spend the day cutting flowers or removing individual petals. More experienced volunteers work on more intricate details of the float. Volunteers begin at the top and work their way to the bottom. The most intricate details are left to last, often completed within hours of the parade. Volunteers complete the base last to avoid damage from workers as they work on other areas. Roses and blooms that require water rest in vials of water, attached to the base. Other less fragile flowers are attached to wire stems and inserted into floral foam. Some materials, like individual flower petals are glued in place to create the desired effect. Dried flowers may be blended to a fine powder and used for shading.
Long Hours Complete the Work on Floats
The work of assembling the float is long and difficult. It take 60 volunteers working 10-hour days, 10 days to complete a float. Once completed the float leader inspects the float for any errors and gives the final word that the float is ready to go.
Floats Take a 12 Mile Journey to the Parade Site
Floats are then towed to the parade route in Pasadena. The journey is a mere 12 miles long, but it takes anywhere from 5 to 8 hours to transport the floats to the parade site. Float leaders generally pack an assortment of each material used on the float in the event that damage occurs on the way and make last minute repairs prior to parade time.
After the parade and the announcement of next year's theme, sponsors commission new floats for the upcoming year. Old floats are stripped to the chassis and the process begins again as new visions are put to paper and designs of elaborate creations are set in motion for the year long journey to the next Tournament of Roses Parade.