Cal Poly Float... FIRST CA GROWN Certified Float 2012

10 Things I learned at the Rose Parade!

Cal Poly Float... FIRST CA GROWN Certified Float 2012

I just put the Crew on their Final Leg home to Grand Rapids… and I’m heading on to Albany NY for a Presentation with Ocean View Flowers… (another Great CA Flower Farmer growing America’s Flowers!)

My Crew is Amazing… I know you’ve seen the Rose Many Times… so we dedicated ourselves to getting the shots you DON’T See… behind the scenes… all the action and REACTION of the 1000′s of Tourists that come to this Iconic American Flower Extravaganza, building the Floats, how it’s done… and what you Never see on TV!

I was thinking back about the Amazing Events of this Past Weekend… and How Much Fun we had… and all the Things I learned! I want to share my Favorite “things I learned”… this past weekend… I think you’ll be amazed!

Wagons representing the Historic beginnings of the Rose Parade!

1. The Rose Parade Started out as a Way for Californians to “brag” about the bounty of California!  Early Parades featured Wagons covered with Flowers that were blooming in the Flower Fields! They wanted to share a Warm, Flower Filled Parade with the world sharing how much a PARADISE California was! A Parade of Flowers when the rest of the Country was “buried in Snow”

Carnation and Pompon Detail on Rose Parade Float

2. TWO of the Favorite Flowers for Float building are Carnations and Chrysanthemums (Specifically Pompons… or Spray Chrysanthemums)… Both Flowers come in a wide variety of Colors… and they Last a LONG TIME without a dedicated water source! So they can be used to Completely Cover lots of things…  they can be GLUED or inserted with toothpicks… it makes coverage easy, inexpensive and long lasting!

Orchids also are a favorite… along with Foliage, Seeds and Straw Flowers!

CA Grown Roses In Vials Awaiting Float Production!

3. Every ROSE MUST have a Water Supply… they are in Vials or In a Flower Foam…  they have to be to last through construction, the parade and public viewing! This goes for Other Flowers too… Like Gerbera, Iris and Lilies…

4. The Cooler the BETTER… for Obvious reasons stated in #2 -#3…  Weather like this year… (it was 80 the day of the parade) is NOT Ideal Rose Parade Float Weather…  it’s better when it’s COOL… Sunny… but Cool!

Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor Float from the AIDS Foundation!

5. 80% of Most Rose Parade Floats are grown outside the US! Again… this relates to the Favorite Flowers… and Numbers of Flowers Needed…  There are NO CARNATION growers in the US Anymore… and there are very Few Chrysanthemum growers!  Today’s Floats are extremely Elaborate…  and take 1000′s of Flowers of one Variety… for example. The AIDS Foundation Float… a Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor… took 50,000 RED Roses… of ONE Variety to create the RED RIBBON!  It would be difficult to find an American Rose grower that could provide that Many of ONE Variety at the End of December!

When I was a child there were nearly 200 Carnation Growers in Colorado Alone… and many in California… Today there are NONE… Carnation and Chrysanthemum Productions (for the most part) takes place Outside the USA!

Sherry Miller AIFD Vetran Float Designer Works Hour after Hour on CA Grown Kit Cat Float!

6. Float Designers are TIRELESS!… The Dedication of the Volunteers… (Nearly Every Float is created by teams of Volunteers… Hundreds of hands working constantly for 5 days to insure that EVERY Inch of the Float is covered with Flowers or a Natural Botanical Material (seeds, ground flowers, pods, leaves, petals, bark… you name it!)… They don’t stop and operate on an hour of two of sleep… just to bring the JOY and EXCITEMENT of Flowers to American in this Iconic Event!

Kit Cat Klock Float Certified CA GROWN!

7. It’s A Miraculous Feat To Create a Rose Parade Float out of CA GROWN Flowers! It’s a Team Effort… the Float has to be designed so it can be covered with CA Grown Flowers… No Carnations… Limited use of Pompons… so they get Creative…For the FIRST TIME… 2 Floats were Certified CA GROWN!  The KIT CAT Clock Float was certified CA GROWN… and it had More Varieties of Flowers than any other float to date…  The Diversity of CA Grown Flowers… truly Displayed the BOUNTY of California Flowers!

The CAL POLY Float was Certified CA Grown… Cal Poly was the ONLY Float to actually GROW some of the Flowers used on the Float… in the Horticulture Fields… NO other Float boasts this Achievement! The FIRST TWO Floats to ever receive this designation was an Honor…AND a Historic Event… Creating an Opportunity to bring the Rose Parade Full Circle and speak to the Bounty of America’s Flowers grown in the USA… right in California!

Crushed Flowers, Seeds and Botanicals for Float Coverage!

8. 3 Types of GLUE are used on most Floats… One is similar to Elmer’s Glue for Seeds, and Ground Flowers… Another is a Specially Designed Glue… Similar to rubber cement that is extremely effective for Gluing Flowers and won’t cause browning! And Finally a Spray Adhesive for those Hard to reach areas and things are stubborn… Like Moving Parts… they need extra Stickiness!

Kit Cat Clock reclining... for travel under overpasses to the Parade Route!

9. 16 feet 6 inches… NO TALLER! All the Floats have to travel under Highways… to reach the parade route… so all Floats have to collapse to a Maximum of 16 feet 6 inches… so many parts are built on giant pistons to raise and lower them throughout the route! That is some Very Elaborate Technically Engineering…

CA Grown Kit Cat Klock Float... can you see the driver????

10. You can’t see the drivers… and they can’t see you… Many Floats have a concealed Driver… that steers the float and drives it… they are wired to a Observer that rides on the float and radios to them… when to go Left, Right, turn, or Stop… For Floats with Riders… they do a countdown stop… 5-4-3-2-1- Stop… so it can be easy and the riders won’t be thrown off the float! Pretty Amazing…

I learned alot this week… it was Fun and Amazing… Insightful and Educational… this is such a huge undertaking…  and it’s BEST in Person! The TV Broadcast is great… but seeing the floats up close and in person… is a Lifetime Experience! It needs to be on your bucket list… or an Annual Event! It’s a Parade about Flowers… designed by Flower Lovers… You have to see it to believe it!

PS… One more thing… Don’t Park on the 3rd floor of a parking garage… when a 100,000 people leave one parade… you can be stuck for hours! Believe ME!