Sunday, January 3, 2010

It (almost) Never Rains in Southern California

Another busy day of the HOP was scheduled with a visit to two different float decorating areas and the Bandfest featuring most of the 22 marching units in the parade. The day started early with a 6:30 AM departure. As the sun rose, the overcast became apparent and the forecast of clearing skies turned out to be wrong. Fortunately, the float viewing was in a building and under a huge tent near the Rose Bowl. Even though this was a different company from the one we had volunteered at, it was easy to see on the one hand, that much progress had been made toward completing the floats on time. On the other hand, it was hard to believe they would be done and ready to roll only 36 hours after our visit. Our first stop at the Phoenix Decorating Company was in a large building where they were working on at least nine different floats. There were people everywhere doing all kinds of jobs to get a huge variety of flowers on to each float by the deadline. I am sure they work continuously right up to the time for the judging on the afternoon of the 31st. In the tent they were getting a few of the official parade cars ready and two non-commercial floats, Cal Poly University and the city of West Covina, were getting their final touches. Since these two were by non profits, they were raising money to cover their costs by selling t-shirts, charging a dollar to sign a bud vial or a postcard that would then be on their float in the parade.
This is what we saw when we came out of the first float viewing knowing the Bandfest was an outdoor rain or shine event. As you can see, it does sometimes rain in SoCal and you would have thought it was a huge downpour from the way the people were reacting (including us). It was really only a little drizzle. After touring the big tent we returned to the bus early and the group decided to visit a mall until time for the Bandfest. A number of people decided they wanted to skip the bands and return to the RV park. Luckily, there were enough to fill one bus so we opted to not sit in the rain and headed back for an nap. We did get to see all the bands in the parade on a sunny beautiful day.
These white suited Tournament of Roses volunteers were everywhere helping with parking, people movement and anything else that need attention.
The activity was frantic as people delivered, prepared and mounted flowers for the floats.
Flowers in the foreground with a group preparing them. The green pile in the middle is orange tree branches with the fruit on them and the boxes of flowers at the top are awaiting the final big push to the finish. The organization to pull this off is unbelievable.
The second part of the day's float viewing included several of the vehicles that would carry dignitaries in the parade. This is an old Glacier Park tour bus with floral oasis strapped on the fenders to hold the flowers in place. On the right is the decorated bus covered with roses carrying the president's family.
This is the Cal Poly float designed by the students who also grew most of the flowers. The theme Jungle Cuts had monkeys with scissors doing beauty shop cuts and perms on a number of animals. The flowers in the tent needed to be added in the last 36 hours. The float was the winner of the People's Choice Award.
As part of this year's parade theme, 2010 A Cut Above the Rest, the West Covina float is a tribute to the Tuskegee Airmen, the black WWII pilots. Several airman who were to ride on the float were there signing autographs. Nanc is thanking one of the airmen for his service to the country. Below are the portraits of the airmen done in a mosaic of beans and seeds. The woman was adding pieces with tweezers.
The Honda float was a spectacular sailing ship. On the left is the float 2 days earlier with the scaffolding still in place and the the final flowers being added.

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