Rose Parade: A preview of magnificent floats


On the surface, building a float seems so simple: Lots of glue and even more organic materials to press into the glue.

But underneath all the petals is a structure that can be incredibly complex. Case in point: Dole's Dreaming of Paradise float, with its tropical rainforest theme that features four waterfalls with high-pressure misting nozzles, and a firey volcano.

"On the back of the float is a volcano, and at the top of the volcano, we have a smoke machine emanating smoke, and every 10 seconds we've got a propane system that blows a 20-foot flame out of the top of the volcano," said Tim Estes, president of Fiesta Parade Floats.

Building a float like that can be a real grind, though good luck trying to find anyone who'll say it's anything but wonderful.

"It's absolutely marvelous. Everyone's been so wonderful," said volunteer Shirley Woodward.

Woodward says piecing together a Rose Parade float is a bucket list event. She flew all the way down from Seattle to check it off her list.

"My mother and I used to watch this parade since I was about knee high to her knees, and it's been my dream my whole life to come down here to work on the parade," she said.

The Miracle-Gro Company is a newcomer to the parade with its Everyone Grows float. Also making a Rose Parade debut is Delta Sigma Theta, the world's largest African-American sorority. Their first ever float will mark a milestone for the charitable service group.

"We will be celebrating 2013, our 100th year of existence," said Jennie Spencer.

Natural Balance pet foods will be honoring America's four-legged heroes with its Canines with Courage float. Riding onboard will be five military working dogs, including Lucca, a Belgian Malinois who served five years as a bomb sniffing dog in Iraq before losing her leg.

"She got hurt in the line of duty and by doing that she also saved a lot of military personnel," said U.S. Marine Col. Juan Rodriguez.

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