Mom deserted us today again. Mom belongs to a walking club, and she walked 10K yesterday, and then today, she worked at the table - signing the walkers in and stamping their books. After that, she was going to go work on one of the Rose Parade Floats - she has done this before, and it is a lot of fun, but she was really tired after having to get up 2 days in a row, so she just took some pictures of the float.
This is the artist's rendering of the Sierra Madre float. Sierra Madre is one of the towns around Pasadena. Sierra Madre's float is only one of 6 that are not made by professional float builders. The float is entirely made and paid for by volunteers.
This is as you first go into the float "barn." The theme of this year's Rose Parade is Celebrations Around the World. Sierra Madre chose to Celebrate Valentine's Day because of its close association with roses and flowers.
Here are some of the volunteers putting some of the finishing touches on the float. It is amazing how much they got done in just one day. The volunteers work 24 hours a day from December 26th to the 31st. Some of the non-perishable items (such as seeds, beans, bark, etc.) can be prepared before the big work week, but all of the flowers need to be put on the float within one -two days before the parade, so they won't wilt.
When Mom first saw the float yesterday, none of the hearts filled with flowers had been put on the float, and the swans wings had not been finished. It looked like they were covering the swans with potato flakes. Everything on the float must be organic in nature. Years ago, Mom worked on a float for GM that was a giant race car, and because part of the wheels touched the ground, they had to get special permission from the Rose Parade Committee to not cover that part of the float so they would have traction, but everything else, including the rest of the wheels had to be covered (they used seaweed sheets to cover the wheels).
The floats are judged at least twice during the week proceeding the parade. During the first judging, the float must be about 70% completed, and everyone has to leave the building. During the second judging which should take place tomorrow, the float must be almost finished and anyone riding on the float must be in their places in costume. When it is taken over to the staging area before the parade, the final judging takes place with any animation that occurs.
Most of the floats are completed in a series of "barns" in Pasadena. People can take tours to watch the floats being built, and there are usually between 5 - 10 floats being worked on in each building. Because the Sierra Madre float is being built by volunteers, and it is being built in Sierra Madre, it is the only one in this "barn."
Mom has only seen the parade once in person, when her niece was marching in the USC Band a couple of years ago. She said it was nice to see in person, but it is much warmer in bed with something warm to drink, and the nice TV coverage that allows for a lot more detail.
She wants to go back to working on the floats because it is so much fun (and messy) but we don't want her to, because that means she will be gone from us. Maybe next year.