The Rose Parade is a Feast of Flowers

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By Mary Lou Platt

Burbank’s 2010 Rose Parade float.

On New Year’s Day millions of spectators from around the world will celebrate the New Year with the 122nd Rose Parade, themed “Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories.”

Most people will enjoy the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade from the comfort of their living rooms, watching it on TV. They will see a feast of flowers that is the most spectacular display of floral decorations and float construction plus engineering. All will air on various broadcasts, with the best being the commercial-free KTLA presentation with Rose Parade veterans Stephanie Edwards and Bob Eubanks. Also airing live Saturday, January 1 is the Hallmark Channel broadcast, special because Hallmark Channel has its own mantra of “celebrate life’s moments.”

Following in the footsteps of past Grand Marshals, such as Bob Hope, Shirley Temple, George Lucas, Kermit the Frog, and last year’s Sully Sullenberger, the heroic airline captain, at the helm of this year’s parade is Paula Deen. Deen is the celebrity chef and cookbook author who is as sweet as honey and very charming. Deen is the star of the Food Network’s Paula’s Home Cooking and Paula’s Best Dishes, and has her own restaurant in Savannah, Georgia. When she was introduced to the Rose Parade Queen Evanne Friedmann and her court of princesses, Deen baked a purple pedal cake in their honor. She’s full of Southern hospitality. Among her official duties, she’ll toss the coin before the 97th Rose Bowl Game.

The whole day will be filled with beautiful pageantry and grand tradition of magnificent floral floats, high-stepping equestrians and great marching bands. The bands go to extraordinary lengths to raise every nickel for travel expenses to be able to participate in the parade. Every note they play should be appreciated for the effort it takes to march in Pasadena.

It is something to look forward to every year. My favorite has always been the amazing City of Burbank float. Along with an army of volunteers, I helped “pop” flowers for their “Pachyderm Parade” float in 2006, which won the Bob Hope Humor trophy. Last year Burbank’s float was “Barnyard Aces,” displaying a plane buzzing the field and barn. It won the animation trophy and talking with the “Float Weasels” (that’s what they call float operators themselves) it was fascinating to learn how it was constructed.

Creating a masterpiece out of flowers boggles the mind. This year, the float’s theme “Centennial Celebration,” is extra special as it is helping the City of Burbank celebrate its monumental birthday. All the intricate designs and details in the construction are amazing, showing various icons from Burbank’s 100 years.

After its debut in Pasadena, you can see it up close, January 3 to 5, at the Burbank float viewing location, at the corner of Olive Avenue and Glenoaks Boulevard, a new location across the street from the Burbank Central Library. It’s a must see for anyone who enjoys a beautiful display of flowers and creativity. The aroma that fills the air is an added bonus.

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