With only a few days to go until the Rose Parade, members and volunteers are finishing up loose ends on Burbank’s float to prepare it for dried materials and flowers.
On Wednesday, there was not a still body in the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.’s float barn at 123 W. Olive Ave.
A group of people used wire cutters to break down walnut shell pieces into smaller pieces to be used for the owl on the float, titled “Stompin’ Good Time,” while volunteers painstakingly glued seeds to different parts of the project.
This year’s parade theme is “The Melody of Life,” and singer Chaka Khan is serving as grand marshal.
Retired teachers Susan Hicks and Nancy Misfeldt had their hands covered in glue as they worked together to paste strips of palm bark onto one of the trees on the back of the float.
Hicks, who is originally from Hot Springs Village, Ark., drove out to Burbank in her recreational vehicle this year to be a first-time volunteer for the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., something that’s been on her bucket list for many years.
“I’ve been totally fascinated by it for years,” she said. “I was an art major, and I really like the creative aspect of it. It’s a little more detailed than the gingerbread houses that you make this time of year.”
Unlike Hicks, Misfeldt, who lives in Santa Clarita, has been a volunteer for Burbank’s float for 37 years and even designed the association’s float for the 1992 Rose Parade.
Misfeldt started volunteering years ago when she was a student at Pierce College and found out about the self-built float organization when she had to photograph in-sequence an American event for one of her finals assignments.
Ever since then, she has come back with her family to help build and decorate the float, and now she hopes Hicks catches the volunteer bug that bit her many years ago.
“This has become like a float family for me,” Misfeldt said. “My dad [Don Hames] was president [of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn.] for many years, but I was here before he had the title. This is just something I’ll do between Christmas and New Year’s.”
Just around the corner from Hicks and Misfeldt was London Ruff, who was also a first-time volunteer. Ruff, a Burbank resident, was meticulously painting the whites of the eyes of a crocodile lying on a hammock near the back of the float.
Ruff said she had been interested in volunteering for the past few years, but either ran out of time or forgot about the parade.
What convinced her to help this year was seeing one of the characters on the project — an owl that will be sitting atop the shack near the back of the float.
“I made it a goal of mine to come down here and try to do something with that owl,” Ruff said.
Although volunteers are busy painting and gluing dried materials to different parts of the float, there has yet to be a single flower placed onto it, which decoration chair Linda Cozakos said is normal.
She said flowers start being placed onto the float about two or three days before the final judging and parade to ensure the flora stays fresh.
And there’s going to be a lot of fresh flowers, specifically roses, which need to make it to parade day. Cozakos said she has ordered 11,000 roses of varying colors for the float, which is more than the 3,000 to 5,000 roses the association typically uses for an entry.
“We’ll start putting roses on the afternoon of [Thursday] and any last-minute ones on [New Year’s Eve],” she said.
Cozakos added she’s not that worried about having the float finished by the final judging on Monday because she has a dedicated group of volunteers behind her to get everything done on time.