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Rose Parade Float Decoration Hits Its Stride

IRWINDALE ( — With Christmas in the rear-view mirror, and New Year's Day around the corner, the race is on to get dozens of floats ready for the annual Tournament of Roses Parade.

From a chilly warehouse in Irwindale, KCAL9's Adrianna Weingold reported that hundreds of volunteers were using everything imaginable to transform structures into Rose Parade masterpieces.

"From seeds to petals to obviously the natural flowers, to the fresh fruits, a lot of them even have vegetables,"said Monica Spiro, of Dole Packaged Foods.

It takes about 7,000 hours to decorate each float. Volunteers are currently concentrating on the dry materials. Several girls used crushed peas to outline the veins of leaves

"It's really fun, I really like seeing it on the actual parade day, you get to see what you've been working on," said Rebecca Halfacre, who has been decorating floats since she was just 6 years old and spends every winter break working with her friends. "It's really cool."

Each and every tiny piece is placed by hand. Golden flax to outline the eye of a dog, white rice for an Olympic star, corn husks cut to look like scallops, poppy seeds as feathers.

The work is meticulous and time consuming, but a highlight of the year for volunteers like Elise Brunnick. This is her 10th year decorating rose parade floats

"It's fun," Brunnick said. "It's the hardest work you're ever going to do, and the most fun you're ever going to have."

Fresh flowers will start being put in place in a few days. Float designers say the cold weather helps keep the flowers looking nicer a bit longer. But if it's too cold, the glue doesn't dry quite right. A delicate balance, and attention to detail that's all in a day's work.

"It's just good on the flowers, makes it a little chilly for the kids, but the weather forecast looks really good between now and New Year's Eve," said Tim Estes, president of Fiesta Parade Floats. "There's a slight chance of showers on New Year's Eve night but right now everything looks really good for us."

It has never rained during the Rose Parade, but whatever the weather the enormous works of art will be ready to go come New Year's Day.

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