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An insider's look at 2011 Rose Parade float decorating

Written by
Published: December 30, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Update, 1/1/2011: Here's more of our coverage of the 2011 Rose Parade, with photos and video.

So, I guess my hometown of Pasadena, California is known for something else, besides being the home of Theme Park Insider.

Rose Bowl Stadium

This is the week that my Pasadena becomes that Pasadena, home to the Rose Bowl and Rose Parade. RVs are beginning to line our streets, and soon thousands of people will be camping out in my neighborhood, awaiting the parade on New Year's Day morning.

For now, though, the main activity is happening around the Rose Bowl itself, where hundreds of volunteers are working to decorate the floats for the 122nd annual Tournament of Roses parade.

Roses, and other floweers

Hundreds of thousands of roses, mums, tulips and all other assortments of flora await their assignments onto the 47 floats in this year's parade. Every inch of every visible surface of each float must be covered in organic material, and every flower, petal, seed, stalk and leaf is applied to these floats by hand.

Gluing the floats

Brush on the glue, the push on the bud, blossom or leaf. Again...

Applying the flowers

And again...

Float decorating

And again...

More Rose Parade float decorating

The decorating is open to the public ($10 per person) and thousands queue daily to watch from the catwalks as volunteers decorate below.

Watching the float decorating

Some floats soar beyond the ceiling of the warehouse where they're decorated. That, and the fact that the floats must pass under an Interstate 210 overpass along the route, mean that the tallest floats are built with hinges that allow them to lie flat(ter). That makes decorating a bit easier, too.

A flip-top float

The most meta float in this year's parade? Western Asset's Rose Parade float paying tribute to… the Rose Bowl Stadium. Here, a volunteer applied detail to a floral representation of a Super Bowl program cover from one of the NFL title games held at the stadium.

The Rose Bowl, in Rose Parade flowers

Keep watching Theme Park Insider on New Year's Day, when I'll be posting a photo gallery of images taken from the parade, starting at the intersection of Colorado and Orange Grove Boulevards here in Pasadena. I'll also be covering the parade live on Theme Park Insider's Twitter feed.

Happy New Year!

Readers' Opinions

From 65.78.148.68 on January 1, 2011 at 1:32 AM
Great article, and terrific pictures to accompany it! Thanks for sharing this about your hometown.

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