It has been a banner year for local float entrants into the Tournament of Roses Parade, with Glendale and Burbank taking home two of the biggest prizes.
Glendale’s float, titled “Let’s Be Neighbors,” won the prestigious Governor’s Award, which tournament types judged the best depiction of life in California. The float featured Meatball the bear — coming out of a garbage can, natch — and a host of other animals.
PHOTOS: 125th annual Tournament of Roses parade
We’ll leave it to other wags about whether a bear in a trash can truly depicts California life — or if it depicts it a bit too accurately — and simply state the float was tremendous.
Burbank’s float more than held its own, capturing the Fantasy Award with “Lights! Camera! Action!” The float featured a Snidely Whiplash-type character, a damsel-in-distress out of Central Casting — a Burbank company, by the way — and, of course, a hero.
Even a local company, Glendale-based Public Storage, got into the act, winning the Grand Marshall’s Award for its galactic-themed “Adventures in Space” float.
The floats were made possible through the selfless work and long hours of hundreds of volunteers, many spending long nights and sacrificing weekends in the service of civic pride. It is a sweet-smelling bouquet indeed, and everyone involved has the right to be proud.
The Burbank Water and Power warehouse on Olive Avenue that serves as float central for the Media City was awash with volunteers in the days leading up to New Year’s Day. The Burbank float was one of the so-called “selfies,” meaning an all-volunteer effort, and its workers deserve special recognition.
Though Glendale paid $150,000 for work on its float — a sum partially raised via a meatball-tasting event — it too had a huge corps of volunteers and supporters.
It was on the backs of these locals that the floats, both beautiful and whimsical, came into being. In addition, these volunteers connected with their neighbors and their cities in a unique way. The bonds of friendship help create and sustain our communities as enviable places to live and work.