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Burbank float nearly ready for Rose Parade on New Year’s Day

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Volunteers work on the details of the float for the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.'s float entry, called “Rise Up,” on Friday. The theme is based on the rise of a phoenix to represent the recovery after the California wildfires over the past two years.
(Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

With less than a week to go before the 2020 Rose Parade, it’s an all-hands-on-deck situation at the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.’s float barn on Olive Avenue.

Association president Ginny Barnett said Friday morning she wasn’t worried about not yet having the float, “Rise Up,” ready, as long as everyone pulls their weight around the float barn in the coming days ahead of the Wednesday parade.

Burbank’s entry for the 2020 Rose Parade is an homage to those affected by the wildfires that blazed up and down the state the past two years.

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Unlike previous floats built by the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. that were intended to be cute and humorous, “Rise Up” is an entry with a somber but powerful tone, Barnett said.

The float has one main character — a phoenix rising from the ashes flying toward a hopeful future, a message that coincides with the Rose Parade’s 2020 theme, “The Power of Hope.”

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Longtime volunteer Debbie Curtin, with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., mixes rice and onion seeds in a blender to match a lighter color of gray for the organization’s float entry, called “Rise Up,” on Friday.
(Tim Berger/Burbank Leader)

Everyone at the work site, located at 123 W. Olive Ave., on Friday was busy with a task they were assigned as they first walked through the door that morning.

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Some covered the back of the float with seeds to appear like ashes, while others were near the top of the float about 20 feet high painting the phoenix’s body and preparing it for flowers that would be applied later.

“It’s orderly chaos,” Barnett said about the dozens of people moving about in the float barn.

Barnett was overseeing a group of volunteers as they placed yellow flower petals on the phoenix’s head, which was detached from the body and being worked on from the ground.

Longtime volunteer Jodi Gross, who is in charge of the fresh flowers for the float, said the Pasadena Tournament of Roses granted the local association permission to use burnt wood from the Northern California fires on the float.

Northridge resident Audrey Fogg, who has been volunteering with the Burbank association since 2013, was helping decorate the head.

Fogg said she loved how the message of Burbank’s float ties in with those who were affected by the fires.

However, the float holds a deeper meaning for Fogg.

She said she was laid off from her job at the beginning of this month, which has caused her stress during the holidays but also allowed her to put in more hours with the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.

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Fogg added that working on the float has given her hope for a more positive new year.

“Being here and helping has been uplifting,” Fogg said. “I’ll worry about a job at the beginning of January.”

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