Piece of Mind: See your float design in the 2012 parade

I know the flowers aren't even off "3-2-1 Dig!" yet, but it's already time for one of the many creative people who live among us to come up with a brilliant concept for the La Canada Flintridge float entry in 2012 Rose Parade.

And there's a very short time-frame in which to accomplish this task. The entry is due Thursday, Jan. 13. In case you don't have your new calendar yet, that's seven short days from the date we're publishing this little notice.

La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Association spokesperson Peggy Hotaling called Wednesday to see if we had any space left in the paper to publicize the annual contest to design our city's float.

Hotaling's plea met with receptive ears. I'm pleased to use this space to endorse the LCFTRA Design Contest. There's something in it for you (besides bragging rights), should you prevail as the big winner: two grandstand tickets to the Rose Parade to watch the float you conceived make its way to glory before millions.

Here are the rules: Put a brief written description of your concept on a single sheet of 8 1/2 x 11-inch paper, include a rough sketch (the artwork is not critical, because someone gifted at drawing can illustrate the winning concept for the final product) and on the back of the paper, write your name, address and telephone number. Then put your entry in an envelope and mail it to Design Concept 2012, P.O. Box 253, La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91012. Or, you can drop it off at the Valley Sun office, 727 Foothill Blvd., La Cañada, and we can get it to the LCFTA for you.

Remember, our float never has a human being riding on it, so plan around that. It also tends to have a great degree of whimsicality to it and clever animation, so make sure that the potential for moving parts is included in your design.

And there are more clues to coming up with a winning entry, found on the LCFTRA website (http://www.lcftra.org): "The 2012 Tournament of Roses Parade theme calls up images of children lying on grass seeing pictures in clouds; scientists searching for new worlds to discover; far away places imagined by poets and story tellers; determined athletes giving their all; musicians, actors, dancers, painters and sculptors expressing themselves through their gifts; and the visualization of a future in which creativity and innovation are the twin master of our dreams."

Hotaling points out that multiple entries are allowed in this contest, so if you come up with several different ideas, go for it. Maybe one will grab the judges' attention.

This year's entry, the aforementioned "3-2-1-Dig!" was very cute and appeared to function well, as near as I could tell from our seats at the parade Saturday. I don't know why it did not receive any awards, but I did overhear spectators seated a couple of rows in front of us say that they were puzzled by the empty seats on the major components, the pieces of heavy equipment that were working together to "build" a park. They apparently didn't understand the concept that it was the machines themselves that were the central characters doing the work, not merely vehicles. The folks' comments demonstrated to me that the story told by a float needs to be easy for everyone to grasp at first glance.

I hope you're inspired to create a memorable Rose Parade float to represent our fine city next January. Time's flying, so hasten to your paper and pen today.

CAROL CORMACI is managing editor of the Valley Sun. She can be reached via e-mail at ccormaci@valleysun.net or carol.cormaci@latimes.com

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