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I spent some time at Phoenix Floats in Irwindale, area a behemothic barn is advancing animate with teenagers capacity roses into cream beds, volunteers anxiously agreement beans assimilate float words, and hardly afraid float aggregation chiefs authoritative abiding they’re on schedule. And the roses? They’re advancing in from about the world…

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Jan. 1 afraid in the air as I absolved the aisles, watching adolescent and old actualize the final layers on float shells for a attitude that goes aback to 1890.

I’m a built-in to Southern California — and accept been about abundant to accept absolutely enjoyed the complete of Bob Eubanks and Stephanie Edwards advancing beyond the TV airwaves. Wandering about on Friday gave me a new acknowledgment for the affection and body that goes into Pasadena’s Rose Parade.

Meet some of the association I came across.


There is a allotment of the barn actuality area the additional genitalia are — reusable metal that anniversary year becomes allotment of the framework of a float. Some of it gets used. Some not.

At Phoenix, you ability alike apprehend some music announcement from a bore abounding with float technicians, computers, speakers, amplifiers, headphones and wires. Central is article that looks like a arena from central a Jawa Sandcrawler — you know, that behemothic burden tractor area Star Wars droids go to die.

But here, it’s a connected activation of things. It’s area Jim Jennings and his aggregation of complete and float technicians accept been absolutely active lately.

They are the bodies amenable for installing and advancement the complete that comes out of the floats. Anniversary of 19 Phoenix floats is able with four speakers that will be arena music all forth the 5.5-mile stretch. Jennings and his aggregation accompany that complete to you, and advance it, forth with the added actuality they do — from allowance to fix collapsed tires or disobedient generators.

Jennings got complex in the accomplishment in 1991, active a barter at aboriginal and boring affective on to acceptable a float technician.

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“I’d consistently capital to be a allotment of the Rose Parade,” he said.

Now, he gets a bang out of accomplishing what he does anniversary end of the year for the Rose Array — like the time the team’s complete arrangement in Auto Club access rumbled.

“It ashamed the accomplished street,” he said of the “funny car” float.

“Whatever it takes to get the job done,” he said.

(By the way, accept for some “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” from Marvin Gaye, some “Come Fly With Me” from Frank Sinatra and some “Walking on Sunshine” from Katrina and the Waves on the aboriginal day of 2020. I anticipation I heard some “Our House” from Madness, too, in the activity for the route.)


David Peterson’s aggregation of volunteers on the SCAN Foundation float was absolutely zen as they agilely and agilely crafted the touches for their float.

The adornments for the anatomy were all laid out in avant-garde of you. There were the onion balls, the pinto beans, beat seed, branch beans, strawflower beans, the statice… One woman displayed laser focus as she she placed coffee beans into the lettered-name of the float: Hope’s Hero.

“Are both abandon done?,” Peterson asked as he surveyed the bearings and as others in his aggregation sat a table advancing the statice — additionally accepted as limonium (not that I knew that avant-garde of autograph this).

Anyway, Peterson was yet addition case in point. Aloof a actuality who had consistently arena the parade, and capital to be a allotment of it in some way.

He’s an accountant by day. But this time of year — for the aftermost 14 years — he’s begin a way to be complex in creating a float or aloof actuality allotment of the parade.  He’d volunteered with a accumulation alleged TORA — a accumulation of Ham radio operators who formed with the “white-suited” array walkers you see on TV, convoying the floats forth the way.

It’s not easy. He and his aggregation assignment on their float the aboriginal three Saturdays in December, alive from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. over the abutting few canicule for the big day on Wednesday — New Year’s Day.

“This is my break,” he said. “It’s article different.”


With volunteers active to get adhesive on to floats, there is one base central the Pheonix float barn that is consistently in demand. Always.

The adhesive spot.

Like a bar at a gala, this is the abode area all float crews go to get their the two capital kinds of adhesive to use to stick flowers on to their Rose Array entries.

That’s area adhesive bartenders Maurice Jackson and Austin Walton spent the day handing out cups of adhesive to legions of advance rose decorators.

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From about 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jackson had handed out bristles large-buckets-worth of basal adhesive (you get you’re pick. There is adhesive glue, which allegedly sticks forever, and article added like Elmer’s Glue).

“It’s the courage of the place, appropriate here!” said a appreciative Walton.

You could adhesive calm a backbone, for sure, Jackson retorted.


Myself and photo editor Dean Musgrove absolved alfresco into addition apparent of accumulation creation.

Hundreds of boyish volunteers, from bounded account clubs and schools agreement roses in appropriate axis holders. From there, they’d go to addition accumulation of youngsters, who ashore them into cream flats. Rows and rows and flowers.

For many, it was their aboriginal year volnteering for the effort.

It could get a little tedious, but again there’s the abstraction that they’re advance their time in article worthwhile, and that they’ll see appear to actually blossom on civic television.

“It’s air-conditioned to see the assignment you formed on,” said Isabella Ngo, as she placed blush roses.

Flying Rose Petals On White

This, of course, was aloof a glimpse.

You can watch floats actuality busy with bark, flowers, fruit, grasses, seeds and vegetables: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 28; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 29; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 30; 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Dec. 31 (advanced acquirement alone for Dec. 31). Tickets $15. Rosemont Pavilion, 700 Seco St., Pasadena. 626-795-4171. www.sharpseating.com; bit.ly/2ZoEg58

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