If busy hands are happy hands, there’s no happier place on Earth than under the Foothill (210) Freeway overpass near La Cañada’s Hampton Road.
That’s where hundreds of volunteers have been since Tuesday, decorating La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn.’s float “Panda-Monium” in the final week leading up to Pasadena’s Rose Parade on New Year’s Day.
Decorating Chair Danelle Jacobs — who first came to decorate when she was 13 and has stayed on every year for the past 32 years — said she was feeling hopeful about this year’s 40th annual float entry, which makes use of 630 feet of bamboo, 200 pounds of cranberry powder and 470 pounds of sweet rice, among countless other items.
This year’s roster of volunteer decorators is nice and long, enough to fill all three daily shifts that run up until Friday, when a fourth shift starting at 10 p.m. will be added. Still, organizers are happy to find work for walk-ins with an inexplicable urge to glue.
“There’s a good crew working,” Jacobs said. “It all comes together in the end. And if we have to work 48 hours straight, we do.”
One regular on the decorating floor is Joanne Farmer, a Castaic resident who chanced upon the La Cañada Flintridge float years ago and has commuted daily every deco week since. Saturday found Farmer working side by side with fellow decorator Pat Foltyn on “seeds and weeds” duty.
“The Rose Parade is such a huge and spectacular happening,” Farmer said. “If you can get to the inside and have a little piece of understanding, it makes that parade come alive much more.”