The Pasadena Rose Parade

Coconut swans swim gracefully in a pond of purple orchids. Oranges and orange peels comprise the hide of a resplendent dragon. Multi-colored potatoes pave the way in an English countryside estate.

 

 

Every New Year’s Day, the city of Pasadena, California puts on a Rose Parade filled with flowers, marching bands, dancers, costumed characters, and interestingly enough, equestrians. One of the most interesting aspects of the parade is the floats – they are required to be decorated entirely with plant material. Here’s an example from 2016 (marking 127 years of the parade!): These turtles are made of lentils, crushed walnuts, seaweed, and pistachio shells.

 

 

Cool, right? The creative designs are impressive on their own, and it’s even more impressive that the materials are all natural. While floats might have non-natural frameworks (steel or foam, for example), their sketched blueprints are brought to life with organic basics like flowers, grasses, and plants. In this parade, however, you have to go beyond the basics – commonly used materials could be vegetables, fruits, rice, beans, corn kernels, fruit peels, seeds, husks, and all sorts of creative. Considering it takes nearly 3 dozen roses to cover a mere square foot of space on a float (every inch of the floats is mandated by contest rules to be covered in natural materials), can you imagine how many flowers are purchased just for this single event? Imagine…

 

 

These fanciful designs are so involved that planning for next year’s float begins not long after the current year’s float is taken down! All that planning is worth it, though, because the creations that emerge are impressive. There are floats of fantasy and fairy tales…

 

 

The whimsy progresses into pop culture. From Star Wars, to Downton Abbey, to Trader Joe’s, to LA Lakers, it’s such a wide range of themes that you can’t really predict what you’ll see next.

 

 

The unpredictable themes transition into something tropical, relaxing, and…romantic? “The Bachelor” brings us to a remote getaway, complete with a giant diamond ring.

 

 

Since we’re vacationing anyway, we may as well do some sightseeing, right? I can’t think of a faster way to get from America’s southern west coast to its northern midwest region, or from North America’s lowest desert valley to the world’s highest mountain. I think we might have just traveled faster than The Flash.

 

 

Are you enjoying the floats? Believe it or not, many of them depend on volunteers! Since we’re adventuring into the outdoors, let’s scout out some wildlife.

 

 

We just traversed the tundra into the savanna, and I’m feeling jet leg. Feels like nap time! Catch you later,
Caroline