Floating into 2019!

Building LA5's Float for the New Year

Before Sally Gallagher’s e-mail announcing this year’s Rotary Rose Float decoration, Brenda Wiewel had already e-mailed me asking if I knew when and where it would be happening! As soon as I saw Sally’s notice a few days later I sent it to Brenda.  

On the crisp Thursday morning after Christmas, Brenda, Sally, Richard, and I represented LA5 at Phoenix Decorating, working 8 hours to build Rotary’s 2019 Rose Parade float.

As we checked in at the Rotary tent, we saw an image of the float and the sponsor listing, including LA5 and District 5280. We joined with about 20 other Rotarians from the region, got our official tee-shirts, and went inside.

Phoenix Decorating, formerly located in Pasadena, is now about 30 miles east of downtown LA in Irwindale. The huge airplane-like hanger facility holds about 8 – 10 floats, with scaffolding nearly up to the ceiling.  It is amazing to see the floats in their “pre” state compared to their beautiful final creations on New Year’s morning.  

The Rotary float, themed “Service Rocks,” featured a large green crocodile with Elton John’s red heart glasses and a piano keyboard. The song Crocodile Rock was to be played as the float moves along the parade route.  

We began our work after a brief orientation emphasizing not to get the glue in our hair as it doesn’t come out! Some worked on snipping flowers from the stems while others sorted Brussel sprouts by size, to be used later on various parts of the croc. After completing that task, we separated.  I was asked to work on the adjacent American Legion float, gluing minuscule black beans to make block letters on the side of the float. 

After a brief lunch break ,we went back to work. Close to the shift’s end, I returned to the Rotary float to glue the Brussel sprouts on the croc’s feet.  Brenda was still snipping flowers, Richard was Mr.  Brussel all day, and Sally did various tasks during the shift.

Working on these floats, one realizes no task is too mundane or too detailed. No bean or piece of crushed rice is too small.  Each is vitally important to ensure the float meets standards and will be judged as best as it can be. 

As we were finishing our tasks, another shift of volunteers was at the facility ready to work another 8 hours.  Before leaving, we each stood back to admire our efforts, and the tiniest details contributed to what seemed like a major work of art. Brenda said, “What a treat it was to be a small part of making our Rotary float so beautiful!” 

As for the finished product, you can judge for yourself in the photo below.  And for me, I drove back to downtown biting gobs of glue off my fingers – but none in my hair! Sign me up next year and Happy 2019 all!