Mayor Anja Reinke practiced her Rose Parade wave Saturday morning, holding her elbow and upper arm stiff while letting her wrist do all the work.
“I’ve been doing this for weeks,” Reinke said. “I hope to perfect it before Jan. 1.”
Reinke is preparing for her starring role, alongside former Burbank City Manager Mary Alvord, atop the Burbank entry in Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses Parade.
The mayor wasn’t the only one practicing Saturday. Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. leaders took this year’s float for a test drive Saturday morning along Lake Street. Rose Parade officials from Pasadena measured the float and inspected its pyrotechnic gear and other moving parts to make sure the float was ship-shape.
Burbank passed the tests.
“How we’re doing is super-duper,” said Janet Diel, a volunteer veteran of 23 years. “Most of the float is completely built. The foaming is done. The screening is done.”
Now it’s time for more decorating, including an intense period between Christmas and New Year’s Eve when float organizers expect more than 1,000 volunteers to help attach live flowers.
This year’s theme, “Centennial Celebration: Building Dreams, Friendships and Memories,” honors Burbank’s 100th year as a city.
Diel proudly touted the major features of the float, representing Burbank creative, cultural and business institutions down through the years. The burger-wielding figure from Bob’s Big Boy restaurants is featured, as is the Cartoon Network’s SpongeBob SquarePants, a miniature version of the Walt Disney Co.'s Burbank headquarters, the NBC peacock and a soaring jet plane signifying the role of the aviation industry in shaping the city.
Smaller panels on the side of the float will celebrate Woodbury College, longtime “Tonight Show” host Johnny Carson, the old Skunkworks and the new Hub, an animation firm with headquarters on Hollywood Way.
Diel said the volunteer crew feels like family to her, and for good reason. Her children Jason, Jennifer, Joey and Jossie have volunteered many times, with some continuing to play key roles in the decorating.
“My children grew up working on the float,” she said.
This year, the float will be the centerpiece of a New Year’s Eve party from 6 to 9 p.m. by the Metrolink parking area underneath the Olive Avenue bridge. The party will feature fireworks, live music and more.
Bob Hutt, president of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn. Board of Directors, said Saturday he was pleased with the progress.
“As far as construction goes, we’re into the home stretch,” Hutt said.
Now in his second year running Burbank’s float operation, he said all the work is worth it.
“I just get a thrill out of seeing this thing put together,” he said.