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129th Rose Parade comes to an end after crowds pack Pasadena streets

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It’s Jan. 1 — which means it’s time for Southern California’s New Year’s tradition: the Rose Parade. Pasadena once again played host to the more than century-old tradition, as flower-adorned floats rolled down the streets, revelers flocked the grandstands and audiences across the country tuned in.

We covered the festivities here, with reporters and photographers roving the crowd — and embedded in the parade itself.

The Rose Parade as it unfolded

Here’s a look at the Rose Parade as captured by Times photographer Patrick T. Fallon.

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Here’s where you can see the floats after the Rose Parade

Visit the Tournament of Roses website for information on seeing the floats in person after the parade:

www.tournamentofroses.com/events/post-parade

(Patrick T. Fallon / For The Times)

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With their RV nearby, couple watches the Rose Parade with amenities at hand

Kevin Watson lives about 15 minutes away from Pasadena, but he and his wife made the road trip in their RV to watch the Rose Parade.

“It beats sleeping on the sidewalk,” he said.

Watson paid $250 to park his RV at the Rusnak Maserati of Pasadena parking lot and had an open view to the parade. Then there were the perks of having an RV at hand: a shower, bathroom, kitchen and warm bed.

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Oklahoma and Georgia fans can agree on this: Applause for police officers

Both Oklahoma and Georgia fans stood on their feet when they heard the familiar sound of bagpipes.

More than a dozen police officers rode on horseback to applause, including from Sooners and Bulldogs fans clad in red and crimson. The big Rose Bowl game was still hours away — but this was something they agreed on.

Following the officers was a float dedicated to the animals used by emergency officials.

A small helicopter with “Rescue” on the side stood suspended in the air behind a twirling collage of dogs and cats with their trainers.

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Georgia fans live it up at the Rose Parade, and chuckle about Southern Californians’ definition of ‘cold’

After making the long drive from their home in Georgia to Pasadena this week, married couple Kyle and Diana Rollins went straight to the Rose Bowl to take it all in.

The lifelong Georgia Bulldogs fans were still days away from the big game against the University of Oklahoma, but they didn’t care.

“I’m like a kid at Disney World,” Kyle Rollins said. The Rose Bowl “was always on TV, seemingly unobtainable.”

He wore Georgia-themed slacks, a red suit jacket with a white rose boutonnière, Georgia shirt and Georgia hat to the Rose Parade.

During their cross-country drive, the couple drove through Norman, Okla., home of the University of Oklahoma Sooners, with Georgia flags flapping from their car.

“We trolled Norman with flags flying,” Kyle said.

But all the fans have been nice, he said. Oklahoma fans here in California even offered them some H2OU-themed water bottles. The teams have never played each other.

“There are so many rivalries in the South, it’s nice and refreshing to have a rival we have never played and we can meet these guys with no history between us and be friendly before the game,” Kyle said.

Seeing the Georgia and Oklahoma flags flying in Pasadena made Kyle tear up, he said.

The couple were chatting with Glen and Paige Mizer from Cumming, Ga., whom they had just met. The Mizers brought their two kids, Brodie, 14, and Brooke, 12.

“People say it’s cold here, but it’s not,” Paige said, laughing. They’ve gotten a kick out of seeing people bundled up this week. It’s 13 degrees at home, they said.

Brodie has been texting his cold cousin in Georgia. Glen has been playfully rubbing it in to friends that he’s “so cold” because it’s under 60 degrees.

“We were at the Santa Monica Pier yesterday, and I was in a short-sleeved shirt and people looked at me like I was crazy,” Glen said.

Glen and Paige grew up watching the Rose Parade on TV. As soon as they realized their team would play in Pasadena, they knew they had to come.

Paige, a kindergarten teacher, has been taking lots of photos to show her students.

“They know how much I love the Dogs,” she said.

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Scenes from the Rose Parade

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‘Thrilling’ memories from the field for a former University of Georgia football player

Rick Haas decided he’d make the trek to Pasadena the moment he found out his team would play in the Rose Bowl.

The 67-year-old from Lawrenceville, Ga., donned the red and black for the Bulldogs football team in 1968. He played safety and still remembers the rush of running onto the field.

“It’s thrilling,” he said. “Thousands of fans screaming for you.”

What he lacked in size — 5 feet 7 and 160 pounds in college — Haas said he made up for with speed and strength.

His favorite college football moment happened off the field: The freshmen teams for Georgia and Georgia Tech visited the Henrietta Egleston Hospital for Children the day before they played in the Shriners Game.

“It was a high moment in my life,” he recalled.

Haas then heard a chant from nearby Georgia fans.

“Go, Bulldogs!” he said, sticking out his chest so the Georgia logo on his red polo “would be seen nice and big.”

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At the Rose Parade, a ‘cat’ almost loses its life and a pony gets ornery

As Cal Poly University’s float rounded the corner of Orange Grove and Colorado boulevards, the top — a cat flying a small plane — almost struck a stoplight.

“Ohhh!” the crowd cheered as the float’s driver steered sharply, barely missing the light.

And turning the corner onto Colorado Boulevard, one of the University of Oklahoma ponies reared up as the horses pulled the schooner along the parade.

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Like the tortoise and the hare, Goodyear blimp and fighter jets study in contrasts

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Pooper scooper patrol keeps Rose Parade route clean

The Rose Parade pooper scooper patrol got some cheers as they worked to keep the route clean.

“We watch horses come, and if they leave us something, we dash out,” volunteer Peggy O’Leary told KABC-TV last year. “All we’re doing is making sure that the world does not see that horses poop in Pasadena.”

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As grand marshal Gary Sinise rides by, cries of ‘Lt. Dan!’

As the grand marshal car carrying actor Gary Sinise passed, people shouted, “Lt. Dan!”

A woman waved and muttered, “Call me,” at the actor best known for his role in “Forrest Gump.”

Shortly behind the car were two young men in white work suits sweeping up horse droppings with big brooms. They got huge cheers and catcalls.

“Earning their keep,” a man said. The sweepers waved.

A little girl threw up her hands in two peace signs.

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‘Big Dawg Woods III,’ a Georgia football fan favorite, becomes a selfie magnet at parade

Navigating the crowd at the Rose Parade is already difficult. But when you paint a bulldog on your head, you become a prime target for selfies.

As Trent Woods wound his way through the thick crowd on Orange Grove Boulevard, he was stopped every few feet by a fan — from either school — asking to take a selfie.

Known to fans as “Big Dawg Woods III,” he’s a staple of University of Georgia football fandom.

His head is painted with a bulldog with a rose in its mouth. His mother, Diane, painted his head back home in Athens, Ga., on Dec. 28, and Woods’ wife, Mandy, has touched it up every day in California.

Trent Woods, known to University of Georgia football fans as 'Big Dawg Woods III,' poses for a picture along the parade route.
(Jaclyn Cosgrove / Los Angeles Times)

It’s a tradition that Woods’ grandfather, Lonnie, started in 1980 while working as a bus driver, shuttling the defensive team to away games.

Then, Trent Woods’ father, Mike, took over.

On Monday, Woods wore his dad’s red overalls. It was Woods’ birthday, but the trip to Pasadena was more of a celebration of his father’s life. Mike Woods suffered a heart attack and died a year ago Thursday.

Woods didn’t expect to be the family member painting his head this year, but he said it meant a lot to be able to remember his father and grandfather while also supporting the University of Georgia.

Just this past weekend, he said, he has taken at least 300 photos with fans.

“It’s awesome, getting to be part of it now and just to see the love and affection that the fans and university has shown my family,” he said. “It’s something that sometimes I can’t put into words.”

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Stealth bomber makes its dramatic flyover at the Rose Parade

This is one of the highlights of the Rose Parade — the flyover by the B2 Stealth bomber.

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Jets screeching overhead, street preachers below

F-35 Lightning II fighters and a B-2 stealth bomber flew over the Rose Parade just after 8 a.m., eliciting gasps, cellphone photos and squeals of delight.

“America!” a man shouted.

“Hell yeah!” a woman said.

The slow-moving Goodyear blimp hovered overhead long after the jets were gone.

Just before the Rose Parade began, street preachers — a staple of the parade — walked down Colorado Boulevard, shouting at people to repent.

“You might say, ‘I don’t believe in hell.’ You will when you get there!” one hollered.

On the sidewalk, people chuckled.

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Full list of Rose Parade float winners

The Sweepstakes Award for most beautiful entry, encompassing float design, floral presentation and entertainment, went to Singpoli American BD for its “Rising Above Paradise.”

In alphabetical order, the other winners were:

- Americana Award for most outstanding depiction of national treasures and traditions: Farmers Insurance, ''Honoring Hometown Heroes,’' Phoenix Floats.

- Animation Award for most outstanding use of animation: Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DigAlert), “Making It Safe for All,’' Fiesta Floats.

- Bob Hope Humor Award for most whimsical and amusing float: La Canada-Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., “Panda-Monium,’' self-built.

- Crown City Innovator Award for most outstanding use of imagination, innovation and technology: The Grand Tour-An Amazon Prime Original, “Make Your Own Momentum,’' Paradiso Floats.

- Director Award for most outstanding artistic design and use of floral and non-floral materials: Odd Fellows and Rebekahs Rose Float, “Sacrifice to Serve,’' Phoenix.

- Extraordinaire Trophy Award for most extraordinary float: The UPS Store Inc., “Books Bring Dreams to Life,” Paradiso.

- Fantasy Award for most outstanding display of fantasy and
imagination: Sierra Madre Rose Float Assn., “Chivalry!,’' self-built.

- Founder Award for most outstanding float built and decorated by volunteers from a community or organization: Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., “Sand-Sational Helpers,’' self-built.

- Golden State Award for most outstanding depiction of life in
California: City of Riverside, “25th Annual Festival of Lights,’' Fiesta.

- Grand Marshal Award for most outstanding creative concept and float design: Dole Packaged Foods, “Sharing Nature’s Bounty,” Fiesta.

- International Award for most outstanding float from outside the United States: China Airlines, “Caring for Our Sea,’' AES Floats.

- Isabella Coleman Award for most outstanding presentation of color and color harmony through floral design: City of Hope, “Transforming Lives With Hope,” Phoenix.

- Judges Award for most outstanding float design and dramatic impact: American Armenian Rose Float Assn. Inc., “Armenian Roots,” Phoenix

- Leishman Public Spirit Award for most outstanding floral
presentation from a non-commercial participant: United Sikh Mission, “Serving Kindness,” Phoenix.

- Mayor Award for most outstanding float from a participating city: City of Torrance, “Protecting Nature... The Madrona Marsh Preserve,’' Fiesta.

- Past President Award for most outstanding innovation in the use of floral and non-floral materials: Cal Poly Universities, “Dreams Take Flight,’' self-built.

- President Award for most outstanding use and presentation of
flowers: Western Asset Management Co., “Oceans of Possibility,’' Phoenix

- Princess Award for most outstanding floral presentation among entries 35 feet and under in length: Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee Inc., “Planting the Seeds of Service,’' Phoenix.

- Queen Award for most outstanding presentation of roses: Downey Rose Float Assn., “Working Together,’' self-built.

- Showmanship Award for most outstanding display of showmanship and entertainment: Trader Joe’s, “Hats Off,” Phoenix.

- Theme Award for most outstanding presentation of the Rose Parade Theme: Donate Life, “The Gift of Time,’' Paradiso.

- Tournament Volunteer Award for most outstanding floral presentation of the Rose Parade Theme among floats 35 feet and under in length: Shriners Hospitals for Children, “Caring for Kids Around the World,” Phoenix.

- Wrigley Legacy Award for most outstanding display of floral
presentation, float design and entertainment: Ag PhD TV and Radio, “Salute to Farmers,’' AES.

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To stay warm before the parade, a Costa Mesa family dressed in Winnie the Pooh pajamas

For one family camped on Colorado Boulevard on New Year’s Eve, staying warm overnight meant wearing Winnie the Pooh-themed onesies and letting mom tuck her adult children into bed.

Ana Rosete of Costa Mesa was dressed as Pooh himself, her pajama hood pulled over her long hair. Her husband, Daniel Camacho, bounced around as Tigger. Their daughters Desiree Camacho, 19, and Diana Camacho, 16, were Eeyore and Piglet, respectively. But this Eeyore and Piglet kept their toes warm with Ugg boots.

The Costa Mesa family camped on air mattresses across the street from the Target store and got a lot of smiles from passersby who liked their jammies, which they wore for Christmas too. It was a fun change from having to doll up with perfect hair and makeup, Rosete said.

When her kids — including Desiree’s 20-year-old boyfriend, John Wills — went to sleep on inflatable mattresses, she tucked them in, wrapping blankets and sleeping bags tight around them and wrapping their heads in sweaters to make sure their ears were covered.

“We’re grownups and we got tucked in,” Wills said, laughing. “I’ve got my second mom over here.”.

Rosete grinned. The last time they camped for the Rose Parade was a decade ago, when the kids were small. It reminded her of that time, she said.

The family staked out their spot at 11:30 a.m. Sunday and kept entertained with a Disney-themed Monopoly game and a deck of cards.

“It’s luxury at the Rose Parade,” Rosete said.

Diana Camacho said people have been very pleasant. She loved doing this “for the ambience.”

“Everyone is so nice,” she said. “You don’t usually have people crossing the street to just say hi.”

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From Mississippi to the Rose Parade for one couple

Cara and Randy Houston celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary with a first: attending the Rose Parade.

“It was one of her dreams, so we decided to make this an anniversary present to ourselves,” Houston said.

The Jackson, Miss., couple arrived Friday and spent the weekend at Disneyland. They brought in the new year at the amusement park’s midnight fireworks display.

Then the Houstons went to their hotel to nap before coming to see the floats before they roll down to the parade route around 3 a.m. Cara Houston’s favorite float has been — spoiler alert! -- one depicting a large green dragon with horns and purple eyes.

“Just pinch me,” she said. “It’s incredible.”

The Houstons met in Shreveport, La., while Randy was in the Air Force, stationed there. They have three adult children, whom they took to Disneyland about 20 years ago.

The parade was another thing to mark off their bucket list, Randy Houston said.

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Rose Parade floats awards announced

The Sweepstakes Award, for most beautiful entry, encompassing float design, floral presentation and entertainment, went to Singpoli American BD for its “Rising Above Paradise.”

“We are extremely honored and quite humbled to have been awarded our second Sweepstakes Trophy,” said Kin Hui, CEO of Singpoli American BD, in a statement. “Rising Above tells an inspiring story of overcoming the odds against adversity. It is a story that everyone can understand. We all must rise above to make a difference in the world and we hope to motivate others to work toward achieving their own dreams like the fish at the dragon gate.”

Other award winners included:

Americana: Most outstanding depiction of national treasures and traditions: Farmers Insurance

Golden State: Most outstanding depiction of life in California City of Riverside

Animation: Most outstanding use of animation Underground Service Alert of Southern California (DigAlert)

Grand Marshal: Most outstanding creative concept and float design Dole Packaged Foods

Showmanship: Most outstanding display of showmanship and entertainment Trader Joe’s

Full list of winners here

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When Colorado Boulevard turns into a giant campsite

In the early morning hours of New Year’s Day, Colorado Boulevard resembled a campsite.

Hundreds of people — and dogs — of all ages lined the street for several blocks, wrapped in sleeping bags and blankets while others warmed themselves with space heaters.

Some campsites were quiet as their occupants wiggled to find some level of comfort on the cold sidewalk.

Others were still ringing in the new year. Just off Colorado Boulevard on Delacey Avenue, a woman twerked at about 3:30 a.m. for a cheering crowd of campers.

Near the MAC store on Colorado Boulevard, tortillas and marshmallows were crushed into the ground.

It’s a tradition that Connor Hayton, 22, of Redlands, and his family love — throwing marshmallows and tortillas loaded with shaving cream at passing cars.

Do people get angry when their car gets hit?

“Sometimes,” Hayton said with a laugh. “I can’t say it’s always fun and games, for sure. Some people will get a little bit angry if you throw a tortilla filled with shaving cream inside of a car — as their windows are rolled down.”

Hayton and his family marked off their patch of asphalt with chalk at 8 a.m. Sunday.

About 3:30 a.m. Monday, Hayton stood in the middle of the carless boulevard, throwing a football with nearby campers. He had no plans to sleep.

Since he was a kid, Hayton has camped out with his family for the Rose Parade.

The same is true for nearby camper Jonathan Garcia, 18, of Pasadena.

Garcia and his friends sat in camp chairs around a fire pit, enjoying each other’s company, but maybe not the 43-degree weather.

Garcia arrived about noon Sunday to start camping with friends, who arrived a few hours early to claim their spot.

The friends played card games and did some people watching, including watching a drunk man get arrested in the middle of Colorado Boulevard.

They’d already seen a lot, and the parade was hours from starting.

Garcia has lost track of how many times he has spent his New Year’s Day at the Rose Parade.

“I’ve done this all of my life,” Garcia said.

Seated next to Garcia, Twila Whitlock, 49, of Burbank, was grateful that Garcia shared some of his campsite space with her family.

It was Whitlock’s first time at the Rose Parade.

The Georgia native has lived in California for 12 years, but this year finally made it out to the parade.

Why?

“The dogs!” she said enthusiastically, especially for 4 a.m.

Donning a Minnie Mouse bow that another camper gave her, Whitlock was excited for the day and appreciative of the new friends she and her 16-year-old daughter, Destiny, and her friend, Sierra, 16, had made.

In a true act of friendship, Whitlock had let Sierra come along, even though, seated on the ground, wrapped in a blanket, the 16-year-old donned a gray and crimson hoodie. Sierra was a University of Oklahoma fan.

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Using a barbecue grill to stay warm while waiting for the parade

Maria Romo stood in the intersection of Colorado Boulevard and Oak Knoll Avenue just before 5:30 Monday morning, wearing a stocking cap and smiling as she stoked the fire burning in her barbecue grill, where she was putting pieces of wood.

It was 45 degrees in Pasadena, and it was only going to get warmer and more pleasant during the day.

She grimaced thinking about New York City, where revelers in Times Square welcomed 2018 during one of the coldest New Year’s Eves in decades at a frigid 10 degrees.

“I’m sorry for them,” she said, shrugging. “That’s why we live on the West Coast.”

Forecasters were predicting a pleasant day in Pasadena for the parade.

Still, all along Colorado Boulevard, campers were wrapped in heavy blankets, scarves and even a few balaclavas.

Families gathered around fire pits and huddled by heat lamps and propane heaters.

“We complain because we can,” Romo said, laughing. “But we have the best weather.”

Confetti lined the sidewalks from the midnight New Year’s celebration, capped off with noisemakers and people dancing in the street.
Romo, 38, of Riverside, camped out with her aunt, brother and 16-year-old daughter, Nancy.

Overnight, they made s’mores and shared chili verde and bean and cheese burritos.

“It feels like a camp out,” Nancy said, wearing gloves and a scarf and blankets as she sat by the fire in a lawn chair. She managed to get a few hours’ sleep in a sleeping bag on a tarp on the ground.

Last year, it was colder, so the fire was a new edition for the family. This is their second time to camp out.

Maria Romo, who works as a school language evaluator, couldn’t wait to see the city of Riverside float. Nancy loves the roses.

“You see it on TV, but it’s not the same,” Nancy said. “I’m sure everyone thinks, ‘I wish I could be there once.’”

Beside the barbecue grill fire, the family burned three small candles with wishes for the new year: a white one representing health, a yellow one representing money and a red one representing love.

“The money one kept going out!” Nancy said.

“Maybe we’ll win the lottery?” her mother chimed in, making sure it was still lighted.

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Playing the ponies, Oklahoma-style, at the Rose Parade

The University of Oklahoma’s mascots, two ponies named Boomer and Sooner, made the trek to Pasadena for the 2018 Rose Bowl game. Two student groups, the RUF/NEKS and Lil’ Sis, care for them.

For two little ponies, the road to the Rose Parade was a long one.

Boomer and Sooner, the Welsh pony mascots for the University of Oklahoma, rode more than 1,300 miles from Norman, Okla., to strut their stuff down Pasadena’s Colorado Boulevard before the Sooners take on the University of Georgia in the Rose Bowl game.

So, how do you keep two small horses calm during the Rose Parade, amid the brightly colored floats and the cacophony of tens of thousands of people cheering from the sidewalks?

You spoil them, of course.

Boomer and Sooner — their white hair freshly cleaned and brushed and soft — have been getting plenty of sweet talk and nose pats from their handlers. They’ve been stretching their legs this week at horse stables in Burbank, trotting around with a picturesque view of the Verdugo Mountains.

“We treat them pretty much like big dogs, actually,” said Garrett McClain, a 23-year-old OU senior and one of the pony handlers from Arlington, Texas. “If you’re really nice to them and have the right tone of voice in any situation, everything will be fine. You stay calm. Always be close to the pony.”

The ponies will be pulling the crimson and white Sooner Schooner, a scaled-down covered wagon like those used by settlers crossing the United States in the 19th century.

The wagon and ponies — which run out onto the field after every scoring play for OU — made their debut at a home football game against USC in 1964.

(USC trounced OU 40-14, so they didn’t do much running during that game.)

Boomer and Sooner and the Schooner became official school mascots in 1980. The female ponies appearing in Monday’s Rose Parade are the fifth pair of official Boomer and Sooner ponies and have been the mascots since 2008.

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Cal Poly Pomona to build $3.7-million Rose Parade float facility

Cal Poly students have long assembled Rose Parade floats in a structure that left their creations exposed to rain, harsh sun and wind.

Their float for the 2018 parade is one of the last that will endure those elements.

Cal Poly Pomona expects to break ground on a $3.7-million float lab and design complex in mid-2018 that promises not just a roof, but also a hydraulic shop, electronic shop and 5,000 square feet in storage space. There’s also a 7,500-square-foot outdoor working space.

The project is funded primarily by donations made through its Rose Float program fundraising campaign, including a $1-million donation from alumni Butch Lindley, said Cynthia Peters, a university spokeswoman.

The Rose Float program has supported the university’s “learn by doing” approach to education, teaching students how to manage a team, design, engineer, weld, decorate and apply other concepts learned in classes, Peters said.

“They’ll be more inspired and have the room and design workspace to come up with even more innovative ideas than in the past,” she said.

The limited space and exposure to weather hasn’t seemed to hinder Cal Poly students too much. They have won 57 awards since the university submitted its first entry to the parade in 1949, making it one of the longest-running participants.

Cal Poly Pomona and San Luis Obispo students, who work together on the floats, were the first to use hydraulics in 1968, the first to use computer-controlled animation in 1978 and the first to use fiber-optics in 1988.

This year, Cal Poly Pomona and San Luis Obispo’s float entry, named “Dreams Take Flight,” features animals flying through clouds on airplanes with moving wings, Peters said.

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