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American Armenian float this year dedicated to the women who ‘make a difference’

American Armenian float this year dedicated to the women who ‘make a difference’
A conceptual rendering of the 2018 Rose Parade float by the American Armenian Rose Float Assn. (Mary Der-Parseghian)

The 2018 Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade will once again feature a float by the American Armenian Rose Float Assn., this time showcasing the theme "Armenian Roots."

The float was designed by association board member Johnny Kanounji and includes the bust of a woman holding a sprouting pomegranate tree. She is wearing traditional Armenian headgear and garments decorated with cultural symbols, motifs and colors.

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Mary Der-Parseghian, another association board member, said the group wanted to put together a cultural float and make it an educational piece for the world to learn about Armenian culture.

The tournament's official theme is "Making a Difference" to highlight those who contribute to their communities, however that community is defined, and never ask for recognition.

"Since this year's theme for the tournament was about giving back without any expectations, we thought of the Armenian woman: the mom, the sister, the daughter who always has a commitment to their family and community without any expectations," she said.

The association went through the local Armenian community and selected nine women who "have given back to the community" to be featured as float riders.

They are Hermine Janoyan, who has received numerous awards for public service; Grace Stepanian, a third-year student at Cal State Los Angeles; Telma Ghazarian Altoon, an ultra-marathon competitor; Ramella Markarian, vice president of business development at Adventist Health Glendale; Alina Dorian, an adjunct assistant professor at UCLA, as well as Sylvia Minassian, Sirvard Chimayan, Alice Petrossian, and Carmen Azinian Libaridian

Southern California-based Phoenix Decorating Co. is in charge of constructing the float, which is expected to cost roughly $250,000.

Float decorations began Dec. 2. As New Year's Day approaches, about 600 volunteers are working all-day shifts to complete the finishing touches, Der-Parseghian said.

The association first entered a float in 2015 and took home the tournament's President's Award for "most effective floral use and presentation." This past New Year's Day, it earned a second trophy for "best design and best use of floral and non-floral design."

For more information about the organization's 2018 float or to make a donation, visit aarfa.org.

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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