January 7, 2013 • 662 views
Behind the Scenes ….. Not since 1972 has the City of San Gabriel sponsored a float in the Rose Parade. In the 124th Pasadena Tournament of Roses Parade, the City will end its 41-year old drought and enter a float financed by local businesses, residents and sponsors in the 2013 Rose Parade. Millions of viewers will view the parade live and on television throughout the world making the Rose Parade one of the mostly highly viewed spectacles in the world. But prior to the 5-mile trip down Colorado Boulevard, all floats must go through a long process of approvals, planning, construction and preparations before New Year’s Day. For the San Gabriel float, starting back in January 2012, discussions were held with various float builders regarding the design and cost associated with a float entry. After bids were placed, San Gabriel chose Charles Meier of Paradiso Parade Floats to be the designer and builder of San Gabriel’s entry. The entry is called ‘Celebrating Our Journey’ to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the City of San Gabriel and depicts a scene from the days of the historic wine harvest festivals. The entry is Paradiso’s first entry into the Rose Parade and Mr. Meier was pleased with his entry stating that ‘it was a privilege to work with the City of San Gabriel, they were fantastic first clients’. Mr. Meier felt like the entry will fully capture the history and romance of the city and the ‘will leave its mark’ on those viewing it as it moves along Colorado Boulevard. Of course, it takes a number of volunteers to decorate each float entry and a visit to the float building pavilion at the Rose Bowl provided an insight into some of the volunteers. Some volunteers were friends of friends, others were volunteering for the first time and others were seasoned veterans looking to help anyway they could. I ran into five high school student who live in San Gabriel and were volunteering their Holiday vacation time to help with decorations on the San Gabriel entry. Kelly, Isabella, Luisa, Matt and Jack, were all first-time Rose Parade float volunteers and were all having fun helping their city. Even though all the friends are attending different area high schools; Kelly from La Salle, Luisa and Isabela attend Ramona Convent, Matt attends Loyola and Jack is a St. Francis student, their community service to San Gabriel still remains strong. When asked why they were volunteering their time, I thought for sure it had to be because of the great snacks and drinks provided by the float committee. But the volunteers laughed and pointed to their own small collection of goodies as you have to bring your own. Was it a school community service requirement? Nope, they were not doing it for community service hours; it was just something that they wanted to do. I thought I’d quiz them on which historic building was depicted on the float. All the volunteers mentioned the Mission, which was close but incorrect, and Jack finally countered that it’s the ‘Grapevine’ as he placed finishing touches on the façade of the ‘Grapevine’ archway. Yes indeed it takes a lot to have a float designed and built for the greatest parade in the world, but with energetic and enthusiastic volunteers like Kelly, Isabella, Luisa, Matt and Jack, and an innovative builder like Charles, it can be accomplished with a lot of hard work. Happy 100th Anniversary, San Gabriel! Let’s hope that plans are being made for a 101st Anniversary entry in the 2014 Rose Parade!