Rose Parade: La Cañada dinosaur float almost ready to soar

From its undulating neck and tail to its roller skates and improvised wings, the brontosaurus featured on La Cañada Flintridge's float in Tuesday's Rose Parade is designed to capture the hearts of the worldwide audience and, hopefully, Tournament of Roses judges.

“We always want to have an award-winning float,” Ann Neilson, president of the La Cañada Flintridge Tournament of Roses Assn., said Wednesday. “This year we have a really cute float with a very engaging dinosaur.”

The float, “Dino-Soar,” depicts a juvenile brontosaurus who, admiring the flying skills of pterodactyls, has created wings so he too can attempt flight.

Neilson said she believes La Cañada's 48-foot-long float will be a winner in either the humor or animation categories, and has a shot at the trophy for best representation of this year's parade theme, “Oh, the Places You'll Go.”

“Our dinosaur is going places, so it's not too much of a stretch to think we might win that trophy,” Neilson said.

But work remains before “Dino-Soar” meets its public.

Volunteers, gathering in shifts through Monday afternoon, will put in a total of a 6,000 hours to cover all surfaces with materials including leaves, flowers, bark and seeds.

Organizers expect some 10,000 roses in shades of pink, magenta, orange, yellow and red to be delivered to the Hampton Road decorating site on Friday, along with thousands of carnations, chrysanthemums and orchids.

Thousands of green leaves from galax and calathea plants will cover much of the surface of the dinosaur.

Brian Jacobs, a longtime volunteer and decorations chairman for the local float, said the effort attracts volunteers who live and attend school in La Cañada, as well as people who long ago moved out of the city but return every year to lend a hand.

“This is really all built by the community,” he said.

Whether this year's float captures a nod from judges will be decided by New Year's Eve and announced on banners displayed during the Rose Parade.

The odds are good it will be a prize-winner, Neilson said. Since the association's formation in 1976, she noted, “more than half our floats have won major awards.”

Locals who want to witness the final judging session are invited to turn out at noon Monday, at the parking lot on Hampton Road immediately north of Foothill.

Applauding for “Dino-Soar” in front of the judges, Neilson said with a smile, is encouraged.

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