After more than $100,000, 30,000 volunteer hours and 10,000 rose petals, the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association's 2006 float entry, "The Great Howldini," entertained the crowd that braved heavy rains to line Pasadena's famed Colorado Boulevard Monday morning.
This year's float won the Tournament of Roses' Theme Trophy, the award given to the float that best presents the parade's theme, which this year was "It's Magical."
La Cañada's float featured a number of magic tricks, including a dog that pulled a rabbit out of a hat in a puff of smoke. There was also a magical shell game, playing cards, levitating dog bones and a dancing snake.
In addition to the thousands of roses petals, the float was created with a variety of materials. Made from multiple shades of pampas grass, the dog wore a jacket of red carnations and a bow tie of black lentils. The rabbit was made from white chrysanthemums and pink gladiola petals. A number of other materials were used including lilies, orchids, daisies, sweet rice, flax, mungbeans, sweet peas, corn husks and dried carrots.
After a citywide contest last year, Jacob Maitless' design was selected for the 2006 float entry. Maitless is a former art director for Universal Studios.
"It was a banner year for us since we won a trophy," enthused Eileen Ferber, president of LCF TRA. And despite the rain -- this was the first time the event had been drenched since 1951 -- Ferber said that "the parade was still a lot of fun."
"To take theme prize makes us all delighted," agreed site operations chairman Bob Nielsen. He also noted that even though the rain affected the hard work volunteers put into the float, "the rain fell on all floats equally."
Sharlyn French, head of the decorating committee, added that "the flowers loved [the rain], the dried materials didn't. The operators also got soaked."
Float officials encountered some motor trouble when the float broke down in front of La Cañada High School as they were driving it back to the city. The motor was fixed and as LCF TRA has done in the past, the float will be put on display at Memorial Park this Saturday from 9 a.m. until about 4 p.m.
Despite some rain damage, French said that no changes will be made for Saturday's presentation. "We will not touch it up. I think it does the community good to see what it has been through," French said.
La Cañada also boasted two members on the Tournament of Roses' Royal Court. Princesses Michelle Corral, 18, and Rachel Geragos, 17, are both seniors at Flintridge Prep. Due to the rain, they were forced to hold umbrellas and wear ponchos over their dresses, but managed to smile and wave to the crowd throughout the event.
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the 2006 grand marshal, was also forced to take cover from the rain when she had to ride with the top up on in her convertible.
Neighboring cities Glendale and Pasadena also submitted entries for the parade. Glendale's "Imagination Express" was a smiling locomotive train with peppermint flavored smoke rings. It won the Isabella Coleman trophy for best presentation of color and color harmony through floral use. Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the Pasadena Water and Power Department was featured on Pasadena's entry with a construction worker holding a lightning bolt, a crown and a key. Notable city landmarks such as the fountain at the city's power plant, Colorado Street Bridge, the Gamble House, JPL projects, Pasadena City Hall and the Rose Bowl were also presented on the float.
Even though a theme has not been announced yet for next year's Rose Parade, designs for the 2007 LCF TRA float are also being accepted.