Monday, January 4, 2010

Pasadena Tournament of Roses

Last week, between planning New Year's resolutions, I had the opportunity to participate in the 121st Rose Parade. I didn't park a camper in the Rose Bowl parking lot, nor did I have a job as glamorous as Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks on KTLA's live broadcast of the 2010 Tournament of Roses, but I did volunteer (at my own risk) getting glue and parsley flakes on my shoes and in my hair (true story). Good thing I do my own laundry. With my grubbies on, I joined a brigade of students and community volunteers to help build the Cal Poly Universities 2010 Rose Float entry. It is the only float that is built and completely operated by students from both Cal Poly campuses: Pomona and San Luis Obispo.

This year they played off of the tournament's theme "A Cut Above The Rest" to create their theme "Jungle Cuts," which cleverly depicts various jungle animals receiving or giving haircuts. Their efforts earned them the Bob Hope Humor Trophy, which is given to the entry that is "most comical and amusing." A giraffe with a Marge Simpson-esque beehive, a lion wearing curlers, a zebra donning a purple and green Mohawk, and monkeys with scissors...yes, I would agree that it is quite amusing. The float design is a yearlong project that incorporates Cal Poly's "learn by doing" philosophy. Engineering students create the structure. Agriculture students plant seeds. All of the student's hard work is put into every part of these beautiful floral floats. You can read all about Cal Poly San Luis Obispo's 2009 efforts in building the 2010 float here. This blog is written by Gazette writer Gracy Wilkins, member of the Rose Float Club, a student at SLO, and my dear, sweet sister who invited me along for this adventure. Some of her photos from "Deco Week," the week before New Year's Day that is dedicated to decorating the floats with dried and fresh materials, are posted below.

At Deco Week the student leaders assign tasks to volunteers. If you are over 16, they allow you to climb up on the scaffolding (I am, and I did) for some of the trickier tasks (it is seriously hard to keep your balance and work above your head), such as gluing parsley flakes on the underside of a tree branch or placing fresh orchids into the tree canopy. 

Cal Poly grew some of its own flowers this year, like marigolds, which were planted on campus. The flowers were then pressed and dried to create the material used on the giraffe's body (I glued these on too).

This hanging monkey is covered with oatmeal (his hands and belly) and redwood bark. Our first task was to peel apart the bark so it could be gathered into little bunches that were then applied individually onto the monkey's body. No detail is overlooked! See the intricacy below in the head of the snake that helped display the Cal Poly Universities' signage. It is made with marigolds and dried oranges.

With a humor trophy in hand, Cal Poly Universties is also KTLA's 2010 Viewer's Choice Award winner. They won with 20, 788 votes.

Float decorating is the largest craft project I have ever attempted, and even though at the end of the day I did have to scrape and scrub glue off my Vans, I would highly recommend the experience to a friend. You can get in on the fun next year; it only takes a $1 donation and the gift of your time to be a part of something unique and handmade. Cheers to 2010!

- Sara
Listening to "Wild World" by Cat Stevens

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