Hot rods, 2013 Rose float enthrall Fiesta Days crowd

Vintage cars and a ride that won't make its debut until New Year's Day were the centers of attention as La Cañada Flintridge's Fiesta Days kicked into gear Saturday.

While members of the Early Rodders posed and popped their heads into auto engine compartments during the fourth annual vintage car show at Memorial Park, local Tournament of Roses volunteers showed off the metal hulk that is destined to become the city's float in the 2013 Rose Parade.

The La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn. threw an open house Saturday to highlight the work that goes into making a float. Earlier this year, the association took Janis Peterson's idea for a dinosaur-themed float and designed a fanciful scene of a brontosaurus on roller skates preparing to take flight. Volunteers are now constructing the 35-foot-long float on a chassis that has been used in the last 30 Tournament of Roses parades.

“We use the same chassis from year to year, and we use the new float on top of it,” Crumb said. “One engine runs the mechanics and the other runs the animation.”

The choice of seeds and flowers used to adorn “Dino-Soar” won't be made until September, Crumb said. On Saturday, the float looked like a scrapyard salvation project, with metal bars exposed and plastic lawn chairs where eventually the dinosaur's back will be.

Dot Cannon, a Pasadena City College broadcast journalism student, came by for a look and walked away with an understanding of everything from design details to how the emergency brake system works.

“I've never imagined how much work it takes to get the float ready,” Cannon said.

At Memorial Park, hundreds took in the display of more than 30 Chevrolets and Fords built between 1915 and early 1980s, while the Kiwanis Club-AM of La Cañada threw a fundraising breakfast in the park.

Alex Kirkaldy, the show's coordinator, said the hot rods mostly are owned by retirees and local residents. The Early Rodders aren't big on “trailer queens” and prefer models that run on their own power to get to the show.

Skip Neville, the owner of a 1915 Model T Ford, said it is worth keeping registration up to date on his old rig.

“I pay $25 a year for registration,” he said. “ It's been fun, and not a bad deal.”

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