BURBANK : 'Float Junkies' Work All Year for Parade

The Burbank "float junkies" spend all year getting ready for New Year's Day.

"There is a certain obsession to it," said Wayne Poirier, construction chairman and vice president of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. "After a while it becomes important to you when there's something that millions of people are going to see and you have your stamp on it."

On Wednesday night Poirier met with his crews of volunteer welders to discuss how to construct the castle and figures on the float, called "Medieval Adventure." The City Council approved the design last week and 10 two-person crews soon will begin wielding their blowtorches.

That's how Poirier met his fiance last year. She showed up to volunteer at the barn owned by the city of Burbank where the float is built.

"I taught her how to weld," Poirier said.

The Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., whose entry is one of only six in the Rose Parade built entirely by volunteers, has been welding its own float for three years.

This year, the float's frame, sagging 1 1/2 inches, had to be replaced after more than 20 years of use. Construction on a new frame began in February with the help of some college engineering students and was finished in May. A Burbank city employee is now installing the engine. The flowers are glued on between Christmas Day and New Year's.

"It always happens that we always pull it together somehow," Poirier said. "Then, you rest for a couple of days and say, 'Gee, wasn't that fun? I want to do that again.' "

To volunteer, call the float barn Wednesday nights or Saturdays at (818) 840-0060 or call Poirier at (818) 846-6009.

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