With just a little more than two weeks until the 2018 Rose Parade, volunteers with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. said they are feeling confident this year's entry will be ready in time for its debut appearance on New Year's Day.
This past Tuesday morning, a handful of volunteers were at the construction site, located next to Burbank Water and Power's yard at 123 W. Olive Ave., working on the float. Bob Hutt, construction chair for this year's float, titled "Sand-Sational Helpers," said they are close to having all of the mechanical bits sorted and figures made so the decorating committee can start dressing all of the components.
The theme for this year's Rose Parade is "Making a Difference," and the Burbank float conveys that message by depicting several sea animals collectively cleaning a beach.
The majority of the float, which is more than 40 feet long and about 25 feet high, is complete and ready to be decorated. There is a pelican figure that still needs to be screened and another bird figure — a crane — that needs to be welded together. Other than that, Hutt said the float is just about done.
The second round of inspections by Pasadena Tournament of Roses officials took place this past Saturday. Officials visited all the float sites to make sure there were no technical issues and the floats can follow the Colorado Boulevard route without breaking down. Steve Edward, the association’s vice president, said the inspection went well and there are no items that need to be addressed by the time the final inspection is conducted, which is usually New Year’s Eve.
Hutt said he is more concerned about the wave mechanism he created that is supposed to mimic how a wave moves. Originally, an otter figure was placed on one of the arms that moves up and down, but the weight of the otter put too much stress on the mechanism, and Hutt chose to have that arm be stationary while the rest of the wave mechanism still functions.
"We decided to stabilize it, so now it doesn't move anymore, but the wave still comes by," Hutt said. "It'll get the otter to rock back and forth, which was the key effect that I wanted … Now that we've fixed that problem, we're in pretty good shape. I don't see anything else that'll keep me up at night."
At the front end of the float, resident Burt Ballard, a 20-year volunteer with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., was busy applying metal screens over the gaps between the head of a large octopus and its eight arms.
Ballard said construction of the float is moving along more smoothly than it did last year, when there was still some construction occurring while hundreds of volunteers were helping decorate the float a week before the parade.
During the second round of inspections last year, there were several issues with the mechanical features of the float, some of which were not completed until the night before the parade.
"We're pretty much on schedule now," Ballard said. "Certain things do slow us down, but I've tried to dedicate as much as I can to doing just the screening so that I'm not holding them up for decorating."
Hutt concurred with Ballard, adding that the float should be done by the time decoration week rolls around, which typically starts after Christmas.
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. can visit burbankrosefloat.com.