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Burbank Rose Parade float coming together

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Forming the structure for the 2020 Burbank Rose Parade float, titled “Rise Up,” continues at the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.'s building location in Burbank on Tuesday.
(Raul Roa/Staff Photographer)

With just four weeks left until the 2020 Rose Parade on New Year’s Day, volunteers with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. are working overtime to get their entry ready for the annual parade.

On Tuesday morning, welders were busy tacking pieces of wire to a frame to complete what will eventually be a large phoenix at the center of the float.

Other volunteers were fabricating foam materials and assembling other parts of the float.

The mythical bird is the centerpiece of Burbank’s float, titled “Rise Up,” which is a tribute to those affected by the wildfires throughout the state last year.

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The theme of the 2020 Rose Parade is “The Power of Hope.”

Although the phoenix is coming along nicely, much of the exoskeleton of the float is still exposed.

Jon Reeves, a longtime volunteer and this year’s construction chair, said he and several other volunteers spent the past weekend as well as their Thanksgiving Day finishing the float’s framework to have it ready for a layer of foam next Monday.

The minor setback, Reeves said, can be attributed to the association trying new methods in the building process.

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For instance, the construction team usually uses chicken wire to cover the frame of the float to prepare it for foam.

This year, however, there are several areas on the float that use window screen covered in a webbing material, which provides better flexibility and allows for more interesting shaping, Reeves said.

“This is all super new to us,” he said.

Reeves added that the float will incorporate some new effects, such as a real, but small waterfall at the front of the float, as well as fire coming out from the tail feathers of the phoenix.

The float design itself is a new concept for the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. Floats in previous years have usually incorporated multiple characters on them and were more cartoonish in nature.

Reeves said that it has been a while since the association has created a float that had a focal piece and one that was more elegant and mature.

“We felt that a different style of float needed to try some new techniques and approaches,” he said.

As the Burbank float nears the end of its construction phase, Reeves said the association is always looking for more volunteers to help put together the float before the flowers are put on it.

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Those who are interested in helping with the float can stop by the construction site, 123 W. Olive Ave., any day of the week between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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