For the second time in Burbank's Rose Parade float history, an underwater scene has won the annual float design contest.
The “Deep Sea Adventures” float was designed by Richard Burrow, a 53-year-old architect from Mission Viejo who beat out 70 other entries.
“Right from the start, we knew we had a great design,” said Erik Andersen of the design committee for the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. “We didn't feel it needed too many tweaks.”
In six hours, Burrow sketched the float, beginning with the submarine, which he imagined had run out of gas, able to keep moving with help from friendly sea creatures.
“I was thinking about the overall floats in the parade and what I think looks nice in a float,” Burrow said.
His idea was taken in a new direction by members of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. who suggested that the child at the helm of the submarine was in for an adventure with sea life along for the ride.
The last “under the sea” float was 1973's “Neptune's Daughter,” depicting three mermaids and King Neptune. It was designed by Clark Jellison, designer of the 2012 float, “The Dream Machine.”
“Deep Sea Adventures” gained votes because of its “whimsical cuteness,” Andersen said.
“You genuinely look at this stuff and giggle and laugh,” said Ginny Barnett, president of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.
But several members of the association wanted one change — that the float feature a girl instead of the boy drawn in the original design.
“They said, ‘Last year we had a boy,'” Andersen said. The boy on the 2012 float dreamed that he was flying a rocket.
Burrow said he was speechless when he learned his design was selected. He was sitting on a plane that had just landed in Phoenix.
“I wanted to make an announcement on the plane,” he said.
Thirty years ago, as a student at Cal Poly Pomona, Burrow drew a couple float designs as part of the school's Rose Parade association, but after getting married and having kids, “I totally forgot about doing anything like that until just a few years ago,” he said.
He has designed residential additions and a custom log home, but this is Burrow's first float.
Construction on the design is already underway. To volunteer to help build the float, call (818) 840-0060 or email email@example.com.