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La Cañada float builders scrap ‘Panda-Monium’ as ideas for next year’s entry take shape

It's been less than one month since the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. unleashed "Panda-Monium" before a worldwide audience at Pasadena's Rose Parade. Now, with the bloom officially off the rose, members are already busy prepping for 2019.

On Jan. 19, Pasadena's Tournament of Roses Assn. elected Altadena resident and longtime volunteer Gerald Freeny to serve as president of the 2018-19 year. Freeny announced the theme of next year's 130th Rose Parade would be "The Melody of Life."

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The following morning, La Cañada Tournament members sifted through 147 float suggestions submitted anonymously by the public, narrowing the pool down to three contenders.

"Everybody who's involved with the float got together this morning and said 'which of these 147 [ideas] do we think would be a good fit?'" float animator Dwight Crumb said Saturday.

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La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. members examine the chassis of the rapidly wilting “Panda-Monium” float, which won a humor award in Pasadena’s Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. A lot of the float materials are to be demolished or repurposed in future floats.
La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. members examine the chassis of the rapidly wilting “Panda-Monium” float, which won a humor award in Pasadena’s Rose Parade on New Year’s Day. A lot of the float materials are to be demolished or repurposed in future floats. (Sara Cardine)

The top three options for the 2019 float entry will be drawn into concepts but kept under wraps to thwart potential copy cats, explained member Jeff Helgager.

"Until we know for sure, and everything's locked in, we keep it to ourselves," he said.

Meanwhile, the group's Hampton Road construction site has morphed from a scene of building to one of demolition, as members break the 2018 float down to its component parts and consider what should be given away or recycled and what might be repurposed for future floats.

"Things that would be labor intensive to replicate are saved," said construction co-chair Janis Peterson. "Some of the stuff people bid on, to name the characters — the winning bidders also have the option to keep those characters."

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Peterson estimated a complete tear-down could take up to six weeks. To accommodate the materials that cannot be recycled, the group has rented a giant dumpster. Once it's gone, all that will be left of the Bob Hope Humor Award-winning panda float will be parade-themed memorabilia — and the memories members will have of the year "Panda-Monium" reigned.

FYI: The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. will hold its annual board reorganization meeting Jan. 26 at 6 p.m. at the La Cañada Thursday Club. For more information, visit www.lcftra.org.

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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