Burbank float reigns at parade

PASADENA — Burbank's float won the prestigious Founder's Trophy in Saturday's 122nd Tournament of Roses Parade, while Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge's float associations missed out on a win.

The three city-sponsored entries for this year's theme "Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories" were among a small number of the 47 floats built and decorated by volunteers.

"It's not so much that we win a prize, which would be nice" said Garry Ackerman, president of the Glendale Rose Float Assn. "It's the community support that comes out each year to decorate it."

Glendale's 25-foot-long "Say Cheese" float — which depicted a giant camera with a mouse photographer — was the city's 97th consecutive entry — the second-oldest parade participant, Ackerman said.

Hundreds of volunteers, including many local students, had put in dozens of hours since Thanksgiving to cover the float with plant materials ranging from roses to lentils.

Volunteer Cat Smith, who also serves on the association's board and rode on this year's float, said she was "devastated" that the judges didn't honor "Say Cheese." The city had taken home four consecutive wins before coming up empty last year.

"With all the work and time and effort that goes into it, you look so forward to getting something," she said. "But it's always fun."

Burbank's winning float, titled "Centennial "Celebration," celebrated the city's 100th anniversary with a variety of images associated with Burbank, ranging from Bob Hope Airport to Nickelodeon character SpongeBob SquarePants and the iconic Bob's Big Boy character.

Steve Edward, vice president of the Burbank Tournament of Roses Assn., said the group was especially excited to have received the Founder's Trophy, which singles out the most beautiful entry entirely built and decorated by volunteers.

"We feel this is a great tribute and celebration of Burbank," he said. "We are the kickoff to the city's yearlong centennial celebration."

It was the second consecutive Rose Parade honor for Burbank, which won for best animation last year.

The last of the three floats to make its way down the familiar 5 1/2-mile stretch of Colorado Boulevard was La Cañada's "3-2-1 Dig!" — the city's 33rd entry in the parade.

The float, decorated with more than 17,000 yellow carnations, depicted a whimsical park scene that used computerized hydraulic motion to power a crane, two earthmovers and a scuba-diving gopher.

As volunteers waited for the parade to start, they also expressed disappointment that they would be going home empty-handed, but said they were still proud of the final result.

"I think it's going to be a real crowd pleaser," said float construction chair Dustin Crumb. "I think we'll put on a good show."

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