Friday, December 30, 2022

A Look Behind the Scenes At How The Rose Parade Floats Are Made

 One activity on my bucket list has been to decorate floats for the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.  So for 5 years we have been participating in gluing, tubing and pushing in flowers for a number of beautiful floats.  So I thought I would share behind the scenes of the last days before parade day.

Last years theme was "Dream. Believe. Achieve"  Celebrating education's ability to open doors, open minds and change lives.

The Rose Parade features two types of float entries:  floral-decorated sponsored by a participating corporation or community organization.  Floats designs must be approved by the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Committee.  Final Floats are approved in February and construction begins right away.

Designs from 2022


The first Festival of Roses Parade took place in 1890 as a promotion for Southern California's sunny winter weather.

Today, most major floats are designed and constructed by professional builders featuring high-tech computerized animation and exotic natural materials from around the world. Each float costs between $50,000 and $200,000 or more and takes up to a year to create. The floats are built in large warehouses by professional florist and volunteers.

The self-propelled chassis is the heart of the construction, but the mechanics should not be visible. Even though it is the most necessary piece, the chassis is ignored when the crowd watches the parade. A chassis can sometimes be salvaged and reused for a new float, depending on the design. All of them are built to support the structures that will eventually be covered in flowers.

The chassis consists of support structures of metal, electronics and hydraulics systems.  Many floats have a concealed Driver that steers the float and drives it.  They are wired to a Observer that rides on the float and radios to them… when to go Left, Right turn or Stop.  For Floats with Riders… they do a countdown stop… 5-4-3-2-1- Stop… so it can be easy and the riders won’t be thrown off the float! 
 

The float is then sprayed with polyvinyl plastic liquid, and then painted generally in the same color that corresponds with the flowers that will be on that part of the float.







Scaffolding is built to begin the decorating process. Flowers begin arriving in late December and are stored in huge tents until needed. Construction goes into full gear now with flowers being glued to the floats by hundreds of volunteers round the clock. 





Approximately 30,000 workers, report to the various builder's construction sites. Most flowers are prepared by popping the heads off the stems before being glued in place. Delicate flowers are placed in narrow plastic vials filled with water before being pushed in place. Each float requires an average of 10,000 lb of flowers and takes 7,000 person-hours or more to decorate.


Barrels of dried goods from cranberry seed, rice, soy beans, statice, pumpkin seeds and other dried goods.


3 types of glue are used on most floats.  One is similar to Elmer’s glue for seeds, and ground flowers… another is a specially designed glue… Similar to rubber cement that is extremely effective for gluing flowers and won’t cause browning! And finally, a spray adhesive for those hard-to-reach areas and things that are stubborn… like moving parts… they need extra stickiness!  Builders will go through 125 gallons of glue per float.

 

 

















16 feet 6 inches… NO TALLER! All the floats have to travel under Highway to reach the parade route… so all floats have to collapse to a maximum of 16 feet 6 inches.  So many parts are built on giant pistons to raise and lower them throughout the route!



Judging begins on December 30 while the floats are being completed. A second judging takes place on December 31 with all the riders, sound systems, animation, and other portions of the float in parade-ready condition. On New Year's Eve, the floats are slowly towed from the construction sites to the parade staging area. Each float must be in position by 3 a.m. on January 1 or it will be disqualified.


On January 1, the judges verify the awards for various categories before the parade starts. The parade route covers 5.5 mi (8.8 km), and it takes about two hours for all the floats to pass the starting line. More than one million line the route, many of them having camped there all night to get good viewing spots.


Here are just some of the floats we worked on for the 2022 parade.












We took a break this year (2023) from decorating but will difinitely will be back next year.

Monday, July 12, 2021

The Farm is now closed for the season.

 We want to thank you for your continued support of our family farm. The Farm is now closed for the season. We will continue to harvest the remaining lavender in the field and distill for essential oil. You can purchase our Lavender products at Rhubarb Kitchen and Garden Shop in Skaneateles, NY. 315-685-5803.



Wednesday, July 7, 2021

How to Make Lavender Wands

 


Materials: 13 or more fresh stems of lavender (we recommend Grosso), (any odd number greater than 13) each at least 12 inches tall, 2 yards of satin or other ribbon, 1/4 inches wide. Patience...allow yourself about 40 minutes to do your first wand. Be very forgiving of yourself... like all skills, this one improves with practice.

1.  Harvest the lavender early in the day, and make sure that the flowers are not damp.  Strip all the leaves from he stem.  Line up the bottom of the flower heads and tie them gently together with the end of the 2 yards of ribbon. See picture 1.

2.  Turn the bundle upside down and gently bend each stem down around the blossom heads. You can facilitate this step by scoring the underside of the stem section that is being bent with your fingernail. When all of the blossoms are "in a cage of stems" the long end of the ribbon should be pulled out of the cage, the short end tucked inside.

3.  Line up all of the stems evenly around the blossoms, making sure that they do not overlap. See picture 2. Start to weave the ribbon under and over the stems. Gently pull on the ribbon to make sure the weave is tight. The most difficult part of this process is in the first two rows of the weaving. On the second row you should be going under the stems that you had gone over on the first row. See picture 3.

4.  Continue weaving until you have covered all the flowers. You can use a toothpick to push any buds that stick out back into the weave or rub them off. Wrap the ribbon around the "neck" of the wand and tie a slip knot.

Trim the stems to the same length and continue to wrap the stems until you reach the end and glue the ends.  Tie a bow around the neck of the stems.

 



Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Curbside Pickup of Lavender Bouquets on Saturday, July 10 & Sunday, July 11


Due to our lavender field being closed last weekend.  We realize this may cause some disappointment for some of you.  However, we will be open for curbside pickup at the farm of fresh lavender bouquets for $7 CASH ONLY on Saturday, July 10 and Sunday, July 11 from 10 – 5. Supply maybe limited. 

We will be open only in this time frame. Please remember this is strictly a drive through to pick up your Lavender Bouquets. There will be no need to park or exit your vehicle.  We appreciate your cooperation with this method. 

We have greatly appreciated your past support of our family farm.







Friday, July 2, 2021

Due to wet conditions we will be closed July 3rd & 4th.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Severe thunderstorns Friday AM has left our lavender fields extremely wet. Additional rain is forcasted for Friday PM and Saturday. We do not recommend Lavender Bouquets be cut under these conditions and our parking has been comprised. Their for the Lavender Field and Lavender Market will be closed Saturday and Sunday. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused.

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