Flower dressing in high gear for Glendale float

Thousands of roses, gerberas and irises have yet to go on Glendale’s Tournament of Roses Parade float, but for several weeks, hundreds of volunteers have been carefully applying dry materials such as spices, seeds and bark on the 35-foot-long craft.

The flowers won’t go on until a few days before the annual parade in Pasadena, but before then there’s still much to do, said Councilman Dave Weaver, who also organizes the float’s decoration.

“There’s a whole kit and caboodle that will have to go on,” he said, adding that hundreds of students — from Glendale to Alhambra — have helped on the project so far.

Glendale’s floats have had a tough run in recent years. Last year, the city didn’t have enough money to pay the discounted $89,000 tab, and threatened to pull the float if private donors didn’t pick up the slack. But after a $25,000 challenge grant from Rick Caruso, Americana at Brand developer, the money flowed in.

This year, Caruso and Glendale Adventist Medical Center put up most of the money for the roughly $100,000 float, which features the Americana at Brand trolley, the Alex Theatre and Glendale Adventist workers. In addition, film reels symbolizing Glendale’s animation industry, which includes heavyweights such as Disney and DreamWorks. The float’s theme is “Living the Good Life.”

So far, volunteers have used blenders to chop up the dry materials and sifted them through window screens to get a fine powder to decorate the face of a doctor delivering a baby and the animation reels.

Several students selected by the city and the Americana at Brand are set to ride the float on New Year’s Day. Councilman Ara Najarian had suggested the city invite Kim Kardashian to ride the float, but changed his mind after he discovered the reality TV star was set to appear at a Las Vegas nightclub on New Year’s Eve.

Kardashian caused quite a stir this year when she mentioned on her sister’s TV show, “Khloe and Lamar,” that she wanted to run for mayor of Glendale in five years because it was “Armenian town.” However, in Glendale, the mayor is not elected. Rather, a council member is appointed by colleagues to the mostly ceremonial post.

Weaver, who has the head of an eagle used on a float years ago in his backyard, said he thought this year’s design was top-notch, but was unsure if it would win an award. He thought last year’s circus elephant float was worthy, but it didn’t get any honors.

That might have been caused by the controversy surrounding the float, Weaver said. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and other animal advocates rallied against the float because they said it symbolized an industry historically known to mistreat animals.

If no awards are won this year, the city will shoot for one next year: its centennial, Weaver said.

“It’s one of the few traditions we have left in this city,” said Weaver.

Volunteers can still help decorate the float. For more information, visit glendalerosefloat2013.ivolunteer.com.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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